The Branded Hand of Jonathan Walker (2021)

Roméo Mivekannin

The Branded Hand of Jonathan Walker
From ‘Strange Fruit’, 2021
Elixir bath and indigo on free canvas
253 x 424 cm
Sharjah Art Foundation Collection Courtesy of the artist

«Koulery, un fils de Béhanzin» Koumery Onibéro, caporal de la Légion étrangère 1908 ou 1909
From ‘Série Béhanzin’, 2020–2021 Elixir bath and acrylic on free canvas
257 x 169 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan


Roméo Mivekannin’s reinterpretations of classical European art challenge western canonical representations of Blackness. The artist presents a series of canvases bridging unusual painting techniques and archival photographic images. Through these self-portraits, he stages a critical intervention that disrupts the mechanics of the colonial gaze, asserting agency via self- representation and interfacing with his own family history of dispossession. The Branded Hand of Jonathan Walker (2021) recreates a photo of the hand of the namesake American reformer, whose right palm was branded with the letters ‘S S’—standing for Slave Stealer—after aiding several captives to escape.