Coby Kennedy: Skin of the Thug 

Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa
06 Apr 2017 - 27 May 2017

Coby Kennedy: Skin of the Thug 

Gallery MOMO Cape Town presents SKIN OF THE THUG, the first solo exhibition in South Africa by acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Coby Kennedy.

In SKIN OF THE THUG, Kennedy builds on the ambiguous chronology of the imagined post-apocalyptic society which has permeated his work by introducing a historical event which he refers to as The Great Negro Wars. The exhibition presents faux relics from this fictional epoch in the form of ‘Thuggernauts’ and is presented as a sort of museological social history exhibit. SKIN OF THE THUG showcases decorated pieces of Thuggernaut skin as well as a ‘rare’ complete taxidermied Thuggernaut head (“still containing remnants of his delusions of grandeur,” the artist notes).

Located at the intersection of science fiction tropes, pervasive oppressive history and internalised subliminal narratives, Kennedy’s Thuggernaut artefacts bitingly satirise the ways in which the term ‘Thug’ functions as a catch-all for young black youth in racist media narratives. By the same token, the exhibition turns a critical eye to the problematics of self-image which result from the psychological conditioning of these narratives. For the artist, the Thuggernauts represent a physical manifestation of self-genocide and voluntary subjugation.

A Columbia University MFA graduate, industrial conceptual designer and 2011 Skowhegan Fellow, Coby Kennedy has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and abroad, including Japan, South Africa and Europe. A Pratt Institute Industrial Design undergraduate, his fine art and design work has been showcased and reviewed in publications including The New York Times, Italy’s La Repubblica, and Hyperallergic. Coby Kennedy lives and works in New York and is currently in residence at the MOMO Artist Residency in Johannesburg.




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