Massa Lemu

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Minor Portraits: Patois Bourgeois (2016)

‘Minor Portraits’ operate at the intersection between performance and its documentation, the surreal and the bizarre to satirize the figure of the postcolonal petty bourgeois. Playing with the word ‘petty’ and ‘patois’, the label ‘Patois Bourgeois’ alludes to the idea of the postcolonial bourgeoisie as hybrid products of Western and African values: the corporate patois bourgeois fortifies his status with charms and amulets. In the different portraits, which freeze fleeting moments of performance, the patois bourgeoisie are captured performing with transitional objects in the form of tools and ‘amulets’ signifying profession, rank and class.