Afikaris gallery presents the new Hercules, the latest series of Cameroonian artist Jean David Nkot
Untitled Art | AFIKARIS Gallery, Paris | Booth C55
30 November—4 December 2021
Preview: Monday 29 November, 1—8PM
On the occasion of the Untitled Art Miami Beach art fair, Paris-based AFIKARIS Gallery unveils The New Hercules, the latest series of works by established Cameroonian artist Jean David Nkot (b. 1989, Douala, Cameroon), marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States.
In The New Hercules series, Nkot brings forth the strength and beauty of the bodies which he depicts. While he still evokes ore extraction – in the continuity of his work started in 2020 addressing the exploitation of raw materials throughout the African continent, and the human consequences thereof – he focuses here on the anatomy and resilience of those who work in the mines, erecting them as contemporary heroes.
For Nkot, these new Hercules are those who run the contemporary economy. Akin to the multifaceted Greek divinity, their abnegation and suffering comes at the service of others. Just as the demigod was said to achieve insurmountable tasks – freeing the people from desolation – to get his own redemption, today’s heroes extract the raw materials that ensure modern societies’ shared comfort, be it at the hands of an ever-exploitative market economy.
Recording his own Odyssey, a contemporary iteration of Homer’s Twelve Labors of Hercules, Nkot frees them from the weight of their work, emphasizing their triumph over a hostile environment. In sum, The New Hercules sheds light on these news heroes, lending them a new destiny by hailing their recognition and protection.