The Plantation Boy - PhMuseum

The Plantation Boy

Uche Okpa-iroha

2012 - Ongoing

The artist contextualizes Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Godfather in the project “The Plantation Boy”, where the artist inserts himself into film stills, storyboards and staged re-enactments. The iconic Godfather movie forms the platform for the artist to examine the relationship between the history of western cinema and the media dynamics of race. The artist will embrace a mesh of skewed identity that takes reference from multifarious cross-section of cultures.

“The Plantation Boy” project depicts a humorous intrusion in 40 movie stills from the Godfather part 1, released on the 16th of March 1972. The intervention is a tribute, as well as an investigation into how movies affect the individual and society. Many movies are based on true stories and facts, but are replayed by actors who, by leaving traces of their own emotions and identities, blur out the differences between, fantasy and fiction.

The fact that the project celebrates the 40th anniversary of the production of the movie in 1972 aligns the Plantation Boy project to the theme “Telling Time” of the 10th edition of the Bamako Encounters.

Furthermore, the sequences of past events, social or historic, are simulated to give an almost original or authentic narrative in cooperation with a script or direction.

These simulations are also highlighted and explored in the project. The artist photographs himself in the studio and inserts the images digitally into the original film stills. Thus becoming part of the already established or known conversations and actions. With these simulated images properly inserted, a distortion or distraction is created and this draws attention to the artist/photographer who is now the ‘foreign’ or the ‘other’. A subaltern identity is formed and a form of representation is established. The artist takes on both the political form of representation and representation by portrait or “placing there”.

The whole process creates an illusion and there is then a rethink of the original conversation. A new dialogue and new scenes are instigated. The viewers will now be lured to form their own perception and story line or to develop a new conversation from what they see.

The project is multilayered but its core theme boarders around what the artist will refer to as the subjective representation of the presence of an omission. The representation of a deviant culture or race that was not originally there. The whole process creates an illusion. There is also a new dialogue from the simple act of intrusion and new scenes or conversations are instigated.

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  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)

  • From The Plantation Boy Series (2012)


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