By Jack Barnes

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston presents a solo exhibition entitled Fahamu Pecou DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance, August 26 – October 8, 2016. Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based visual artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou is profoundly involved in exploring the state of Black existence – life and death – in his work. In the midst of the endemic and pervasive threat of violence that is often a fact of life for young black men the artist asks, “Under looming threat of death, how might we inspire life? Through what mechanisms could we resist the psychological violence and despair inspired by the threat of violence and usher in hope?” Or how might art serve as a “space of resistance?”

Fahamu Pecou: Making Part II from Fahamu Pecou on Vimeo.

            DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance serves as one artist’s action in opposition to these overwhelming societal forces, seeking instead to elevate and re-contextualize Black life and death. Through performance, painting, drawing and video Pecou reframes our view. He incorporates references from the West African religion Yoruba and Ifa rituals. In addition, Pecou integrates African cultural retentions found in hip-hop and the philosophy of Négritude, and through this, he shapes a story that seeks to affirm life via an understanding of the balance between life and death. This exhibit will also serve as Pecou’s dissertation project as he completes his Ph.D. at Emory University.

Pecou states: “My work seeks to provide a crucial intervention in contemporary representations of Black masculinity. I began my career experimenting with the branding strategies employed in hip-hop music and entertainment. These experiments ultimately led me to question not only the stereotypes engendered by the commodification of hip-hop culture, but more, to consider how the influence of historic and social configurations of race, class and gender impact and inform these representations.”

Details on the full slate of programs will be announced mid-summer and will include a chapter of interSessions, curated conversations between figures from the arts community and the hip-hop community mediated by Pecou; a public performance/ ritual involving the Charleston community on opening night; an afterschool education project in partnership with Chucktown Squash; community and College of Charleston weekly discussion circles; workshops with select K-12 schools and more. The exhibition and programming are free and open to the public.  For more information visit

Correlating events during the exhibition currently include:

Friday, August 26, 6:30 – 8PM

Saturday, August 27, 2PM

ABOUT FAHAMU PECOUFahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based visual artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections including; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Societe Generale (Paris), Nasher Museum at Duke University, The High Museum of Art, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia.
ABOUT THE HALSEY INSTITUTE: The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston provides a multidisciplinary laboratory for the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of ideas by innovative visual artists from around the world. As a non-collecting museum, we create meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities within a context that emphasizes the historical, social, and cultural importance of the art of our time.

Location of the Halsey Institute: The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts
161 Calhoun Street, 1st Floor (on the corner of St. Philip & Calhoun Streets), Charleston, SC, 29401
Parking: Available in the St. Philip and George Street Garages
Gallery hours: MondaySaturday, 11:00AM – 4:00PM (Open until 7:00PM on Thursdays) during exhibitions, or by appointment. FREE and OPEN to the public

Tours: Guided group tours are offered through the Halsey Institute’s Looking to See program. Contact Maya McGauley at for inquiries.

For more information: Contact the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art by calling (843) 953-HICA (4422) or visiting

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