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View of “Rotimi Fani-Kayode,” 2019. Top: Maternal Milk, ca. 1986. Bottom, from left: Nothing to Lose XII (Bodies of Experience), 1989; The Golden Phallus, 1989.

View of “Rotimi Fani-Kayode,” 2019. Top: Maternal Milk, ca. 1986. Bottom, from left: Nothing to Lose XII (Bodies of Experience), 1989; The Golden Phallus, 1989.

Rotimi Fani-Kayode

Iceberg Projects

In Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s Every Moment Counts (Ecstatic Antibodies), 1989, two black men stand in a half embrace. The shorter of the two gazes downward, his head resting on the other’s shoulder; they are draped in a lush burgundy fabric that traces a diagonal across the image. On the left, the taller man looks up and out, toward his edge of the frame, in the direction of the light source. Hovering behind his head is a halo of pearls attached to a red cross, a prop that sets the picture in the tradition of Christian iconography. (The figures’ illumination against a completely dark background additionally recalls a Baroque group portrait.) Every Moment Counts is one of the many color prints Fani-Kayode produced in 1989, the year of his death, that allude to the aids epidemic and entangle the old masters with raw homoeroticism and references to West African, European, and Afro-Caribbean religions.

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