Raphaël Barontini: Blue Lewoz

10 June - 23 July 2022 Paris

Mariane Ibrahim is pleased to present Blue Lewoz, Raphaël Barontini’s second exhibition with the gallery and first in the Parisian space, on view from June 10th to July 23nd, 2022. 

 

Invoking European art history and period portraits from the Caribbean, Barontini appropriates cultures to compose his own narratives and figures, between tradition and creolization.

 

The Creole term Léwoz stems from the Afro-Caribbean music which was customary to Guadeloupe during the slave trade. These were festive weekend evenings for enslaved people to distract from their living conditions, accompanied by song and dance, the rhythm of the gwoka and the sound of ka drums. 

 

The various levels of the gallery welcome traces of a collective rural and resistant tradition from the period of slavery. Through portraits on canvas, tapestries, curtains, flags and textile pieces  this new series relays the inversion of a carnival. Painted characters present the actors of an imaginary and dreamlike nocturnal narrative that rewrites a history of the Caribbean.

 

Blue Lewoz invites the visitor to enter a Creole ball tinged with indigo blue, the plant having been grown in the Caribbean during the slave era, a look into the history of textile through indigo pigment, one of the matrices of this parade. Dress codes, textile traditions and court representations are hybridized and reinvented. 

 

On the occasion of this exhibition, the artist unveils his own "Toile de Jouy" pattern screen-printed on curtains, dresses and capes, which become a mysterious and emblematic sign and pictogram. Accompanied by a sound piece created in 2019 by American hip-hop musician Mike Ladd and adapted for the exhibition, the secret ball will rumble through the plush salons where lewoz dances are presented on wearable textiles. 

 

At the crossroads of European, African and Caribbean culture, Blue Lewoz examines a complex history and proposes a renewed imagination. Memory, festivity and ritual are combined to celebrate pictorial revelry with a futuristic accent.