I first came across London-based photographer Bevan Agyemang musing for To-orist the iconographic, exploration themed clothing brand. Then I came across his work and now I would like to share what I found with you all.
The LCF graduate, freelance photographer, stylist, the face of Oki-ni.com, handsome, intelligent and STYLISH young man, want more?..I’ll give you more…was born to Ghanaian parents Ben Henry Kwame Ofosu & Juliana Nketiah Agyemang. Born and raised in Harlesden where he says “so called trapsatrs are born” and use their individuality to hide the pain of living in a highly tensed environment such as a Harlesden council estate. “When you grow up on an estate and you see the hood celebrities in a fresh pair of trainers with luxurious cars and designer clothes you gather a false sense of impression for what is really important in life.” Angry, bitter and darn right tired with all the frequent runnings with the police, tagging him and others like him as a homogenous class of “highly sexualised” thugs and drug dealers, Bevan decided to channel his anger into love and the love of visual and self-expression, heritage and the subversion of the black male.
Bevan has always looked back to his parent’s journey and has been heavily inspired by African photographers documenting post-independence self-representation such as James Barnor, Seydou Keita, and Malick Sidibe. His recent body of work took Bevan back to Ghana where he last visited a decade ago. Inspired by the idea of “fashioning post-colonial identities” which he also describes as “global suitcases” he desired to take the African man away from his primitive state which is often used to depict him in modern-day images. By juxtaposing traditional African jewellery with contemporary African inspired clothing, he wanted to construct a sense of self-empowerment by “putting the Black man back on his throne and enrich the soul of Africans by encouraging a desire to discover self-divinity.”