AWAM AMPKA AND ELLYN TOSCANO
Sara Shamsavari features as a contributing artists in this catalog published by Postcart in 2017
ReSignifications interprets the "Blackamoor" trope in Western culture. This tradition of decorative art emerged at the intersection of cross-cultural encounters shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude, and exile. ReSignifications links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture, and history. It moderates and subverts artistic conventions by using the works of contemporary artists from Africa, Europe, North and South America, and the Caribbean to engage in dialogue with the broad historical array of ornamental representations of African bodies.
Ellyn Toscano is Executive Director of New York University, Florence. She is the founder and director of La Pietra Dialogues and the producer of The Season, a summer festival which assembles artists, writers, musicians, and public intellectuals to produce new works or reinterpretations of classics.
Awam Amkpa is a dramatist, documentary filmmaker, and scholar of theatre and film. He is Associate Professor of Drama at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Associate Professor in Africana Studies Social and Cultural Analysis in NYU's College of Arts and Sciences and a scholar of theater and film.
DANDY LION: BLACK DANDY AND STREET STYLE
SHANTRELLE P. LEWIS
Sara's images for The Dandy Lion Project feature in this 2017 release from Aperture.
Suits that pop with loud colors and dazzling patterns, complete with a nearly ubiquitous bowtie, define the style of the new “dandy.” Described as “high-styled rebels” by author Shantrelle P. Lewis, black men with a penchant for color and refined fashion, both new and vintage, have gained popular attention in recent years, influencing mainstream fashion. But black dandyism itself is not new; originating in Enlightenment England’s slave culture, it has continued for generations in black cultures around the world. Now, set against the backdrop of hip-hop culture, this iteration of dandies is redefining what it means to be black, masculine, and fashionable. Dandy Lion presents and celebrates individual dandy personalities, designers and tailors, movements and events that define contemporary dandyism. Throughout the book, self expression is communicated through personal style, clothing, shoes, hats, and swagger. Lewis’s carefully curated selection of contemporary photographs surveys the movement across the globe in spectacular form, with all of the vibrant patterns, electrifying colors, and fanciful poses of this brilliant style subculture.
Shantrelle P. Lewis (author) is a U.S.-based curator and researcher specializing in diasporic aesthetics, and the survival and evolution of African retentions. She was a 2014 United Nations Program for People of African Descent Fellow and a 2012–13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow. Lewis has curated exhibitions for several institutions including the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art; Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture; and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Her traveling curatorial initiative, The Dandy Lion Project, examines global black dandyism through photography and film