The Plantation Boy
In the fictional narrative Plantation Boy (2012), Irhoa places himself inside imagery from Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal The Godfather (1972). Inflected with humor, the series examines race in society. According to the artist, the 40 images collectively question structures of power and the hegemony of Western culture. This détournement of a cult film demonstrates the extent to which our collective imaginary is manipulated by image and representation. This specific piece marks a major conceptual pivot within the artist’s oeuvre, in terms of both composition and performative character. The work reveals that which was once hidden from view— inequalities of the past and the present. This allows the artist to question representative stereotypes of identity, placing them at the heart of the image. This symbolic presence gives way to a form of recognition. The magical quality of the photographic medium provides the means to confront both history and fiction through reconstruction and re-appropriation.