Visual ArtCurrently Hanging: Pictures of Bunny-Hugging Botswanan Metalheads
by Jen Graves
on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM
Both images courtesy of the artist and M.I.A. Gallery
Frank Marshall's photograph The Time to Kill is Now, featuring the metalhead Trooper.
With this month's exhibition, Renegades, M.I.A. Gallery continues as one of two home bases for international crossculture in Seattle art. (The other is ArtXchange. M.I.A. handles more photography and African-based work; ArtXchange presents more mixed-media and Asian-based work, but both are expansive, representing artists from Lahore to Dakar to Nanjing to Larache to London to Seattle.)
Renegades is a series by Frank Marshall. He is South African and himself a lover of the metal.
Marshall traveled to Botswana both as a fellow fan and an anthropologist, to study a subculture. His environmental portraits, usually featuring only one subject each, show men who wear the sweltering clothing—you can see a few glistening with sweat in their subsaharan African weather—and have adopted the fierce faces and middle fingers of metal. Which perplexes their friends and neighbors.
According to M.I.A. owner Mariane Lenhardt, the Botswanans told Marshall that they're often asked why they don't adopt a black-American style, like hip hop. Reportedly, they say they're turned off by the luxury-obsession and violence against women in mainstream hip hop. They live simply and like women, Lenhardt says. They see themselves as new, self-styled, chrome-studded cowboys—men with multiple, sometimes very different, roles to be performed. Including raising bunny rabbits.
Most of the metalheads in Botswana, like everywhere, are dudes.
Then, here she is, full frame.
Also, if you never watched Vice magazine's reportedly good feature film Heavy Metal in Baghdad, here's a link to the whole thing free online.