Fahamu Pecou, ‘Many Rivers’, 2016, Lyons Wier Gallery

“Many Rivers” references DRUM Magazine (aka The African Drum), a hard-hitting, popular South African Magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. DRUM Magazine was known for its in-depth and critical engagement with South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, along with providing a space and voice for Black political dissidence in an era where Black voices were routinely and systemically silenced.

“Many Rivers” paraphrases the sentiment, ‘many rivers to cross’, a lament and simultaneous rallying call. The work alludes to the fact that though the road ahead (the path to liberation) is treacherous and burdensome, we are built for the journey. The figure carries the weight of several bells on his back. Despite the weight he perseveres. The bells he carries in his load symbolize freedom ringing and higher heights, as suggested by the feathers (i.e. flight). The price of freedom is not free, but the expense is well worth it.

About Fahamu Pecou