DJ Riz on Daedalus/Upliftment

DJ Riz on Daedalus/Upliftment

DJ Riz on Daedalus/Upliftment

Listen to DJ Riz discuss how Fahamu Pecou's Daedalus/Upliftment connects to themes of the Figuring History exhibition.

DJ Riz on Daedalus/Upliftment

DJ Riz on Daedalus/Upliftment

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Transcript

I am Riz Rollins, Aka Reverend Dr. DJ Riz or just DJ Riz, but I prefer Riz. I am mostly a DJ, but I write, and I cook, and I dance, and I sing, and I think.

I'm often intimidated by visual art. Music is very emotive and definite, whereas visual art is really open ended, and I tend to go down that path fast and deep. A piece of music, you don't talk about it, you receive it, you hear it, and you have an emotional response. The emotional response here is very, very complex. How visual artists do it is a mystery to me. It's a lovely mystery, but it's also a mystery to me.

I have an immediate music response to this piece. There's a Donny Hathaway piece called "I love the Lord, He Heard My Cry." It's from Extensions of a Man, and it is a instrumental interpretation of a kind of acapella, a church song. It's, has a lot of strings, has a lot of movement. It's the sound of taking flight to me and the sound of a journey. So it also is kind of a song of flight of transcendence.

The figure with the downcast eyes and the color of his skin against the kind of ivory background struck me. Then it was the gold shoes and it's the only part of the painting that's the paint is dripping. But gold shoes don't really need to be anchored anyway because they're heavy, so he's being held down by the gold. This is a riff on the Daedalus and Icarus theme, and Daedalus's son Icarus has wings that they both made so he could take flight out of captivity. The figure is still holding the wings and there's a rope on his left arm, which signals to me that he's free but not free to rise.

I'm originally from the south side of Chicago and so rising high was a daunting experience for me. Growing up, thinking that being imbued with the value that you raise yourself up by your bootstraps and, but being in that position, how difficult that is, if not impossible to do. And so to rise up you have to use a different kind of cunning, to break free. On the other hand, you've got gold shoes so where you are is a valuable place. It has a lot of currency and yet you're called to go higher and that's a difficult position to be in. How do you rise up with gold shoes?

LOW/NO VISION TRANSCRIPT

You are listening to a verbal description of the artwork intended for someone with low to no vision.

Daedalus/Upliftment, painted in 2016 by Fahamu Pecou. Acrylic, gold leaf and spray paint on canvas. 7 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

This is a painting of a shirtless young black man standing against a blank white background. The man's full body is in view and fills the height of the canvas, but his face looks down at the ground away from the viewer so that only the top of his dark brown hair and the frames of gold glasses below his forehead and on the bridge of his nose shows. His brown skin contrasts with a wide-necked white circle necklace with white fringe that dangles below his waist. He stretches his right arm in front of his body, his hand outstretched and covering his groin. His left arm bends behind his back with his left hand clutching a tangle of ropes that seems to connect a cluster of long red, gold, and white feathers all with black stripes that hangs angling towards the lower right. The white band of his black underwear peeks above the flatness of his long white shorts that fall below his knees. Only a triangle of brown skin peeks between his right hemline and the tall white socks with a grey triangle pattern that he wears and covers his calves. His knees bend slightly outward, and his gold high-top sneakers point at angles to both the left and right, spray painted with several drips of bronze streaming to the bottom edge of the canvas.

His body fills the left of the canvas, and on the lower right, small handwriting reads five lines of the word "upliftment" split into different phrases. The first line as one word, the second as the words "uplift" and "meant…" the third as the words "uplift" and "men," the fourth as "up…" then "lift," and "men," the fifth as "up!" and "lift" and "men." A sixth line has up crossed out in a scribble but "up." written above it.

Now, here's an interpretive analysis of this artwork.

I am Riz Rollins, Aka Reverend Dr. DJ Riz or just DJ Riz, but I prefer Riz. I am mostly a DJ, but I write, and I cook, and I dance, and I sing, and I think.

I'm often intimidated by visual art. Music is very emotive and definite, whereas visual art is really open ended, and I tend to go down that path fast and deep. A piece of music, you don't talk about it, you receive it, you hear it, and you have an emotional response. The emotional response here is very, very complex. How visual artists do it is a mystery to me. It's a lovely mystery, but it's also a mystery to me.

I have an immediate music response to this piece. There's a Donny Hathaway piece called "I love the Lord, He Heard My Cry." It's from Extensions of a Man, and it is a instrumental interpretation of a kind of acapella, a church song. It's, has a lot of strings, has a lot of movement. It's the sound of taking flight to me and the sound of a journey. So it also is kind of a song of flight of transcendence.

The figure with the downcast eyes and the color of his skin against the kind of ivory background struck me. Then it was the gold shoes and it's the only part of the painting that's the paint is dripping. But gold shoes don't really need to be anchored anyway because they're heavy, so he's being held down by the gold. This is a riff on the Daedalus and Icarus theme, and Daedalus's son Icarus has wings that they both made so he could take flight out of captivity. The figure is still holding the wings and there's a rope on his left arm, which signals to me that he's free but not free to rise.

I'm originally from the south side of Chicago and so rising high was a daunting experience for me. Growing up, thinking that being imbued with the value that you raise yourself up by your bootstraps and, but being in that position, how difficult that is, if not impossible to do. And so to rise up you have to use a different kind of cunning, to break free. On the other hand, you've got gold shoes so where you are is a valuable place. It has a lot of currency and yet you're called to go higher and that's a difficult position to be in. How do you rise up with gold shoes?