Renegades is a landmark exhibition by Frank Marshall, representing a decisive outcropping of a Heavy Metal subculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Marshall's portraits offer a tentative and considered vision of this subculture in Botswana; historically adverse in reaction to the occidental genre, making Marshall's subjects somewhat of an anomaly. In this way, Marshall aptly dubs his subjects renegades, tentatively situating himself as a mediator chronicling "visions" of rebellious individuals who form part of an ulterior, emergent rootedness where traditional identities and political histories in Botswana are subverted.
Heavy Metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian, Patriarchal, and Eurocentric, making Marshall's portraits parodies of heavy metal lore envisaging the multiple polarities of the subculture's social strata.
Renegades is thus a sociological case study of an underground minority rebelling against the status quo, redrawing the borders of both Heavy Metal and orthodox culture in Botswana.
"Dead Demon Rider" 2010
Resultantly, Marshall creates a sense of affirmation for his renegades, specifically exploring impressions of performativity, authenticity and mythology. Marshall decodes the visual rhetoric of his renegades by making apparent the modification and hybridization of a predominantly western subculture in Botswana. The unique topology and physiognomy of each character effectively communicates the spirit imbued by the appearance of Botswana's often-uninviting Heavy Metal subculture.
Marshall's portraits break down established archetypes surrounding ethnicity, cultural identity, and ideology. The individuals in Marshall's photographs are on the fringe of a society already situated within the geographical and ideological space of the Other, concretizing his work in the fields of anthropology and post-colonialism.
"Morgue Boss" 2010
Tribe-like, Heavy Metal possesses an unconscious sense of brotherhood that transcends race and nationality in the context of Renegades. So too, Marshall's renegades unpack popular stereotypes, transcending traditions, blurring the boundaries between liberty and fraternity, helping to delineate the power structures inherent to Heavy Metal, which may be misinterpreted as a trace of an oppressive past. This is in keeping with the extremism of Heavy Metal ideology, embracing anything that popular culture finds unacceptable.
A limited edition, signed artist book comprising 60 portraits is available on order only for R2,800 ex Vat.
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Renegades artist book