Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity is a traveling photography- and film- based curatorial project that features the images of photographers and filmmakers from throughout the African Diaspora. Their subject matter is cis-gender Black men in urban, rural, literal and abstract landscapes across the globe, who defy stereotypical and monolithic understandings of masculinity within the Black community. Its discourse intersects class, gender formations, ethnicity, ideology and style. Dandy Lion confronts the hyper “thug” narrative and is a portrait of the multi-varied alternative identities that have always existed in Diasporic communities.
Dandy Lion’s subjects are Black men, yet are as diverse in ethnicity and culture as the project’s photographers. The nationality of Dandy Lion’s muses range from British, Jamaican, African American to South African, French and Congolese. Also, the project is not specific to locale – images were shot in various places around the Diaspora including throughout the U.S., South Africa, the Congo and Europe. It illuminates the flamboyance and rebelliousness of rudeboys, sapeur, swenkas and gentlemen and sometimes women.
The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity provides an exploration of a popular conversation in nuanced contemporary sartorial expressions and the fluidity of cis-gender Black male masculinity. As a statement, it is not definitive. It is provocative and inquisitive – meant to provoke, indulge and glorify.