Monday, November 24, 2014

Fierce Individuality

    It takes a great deal of commitment, not only to the clothing you choose for yourself in terms of its selection and maintenance, but a commitment to your own truth, to the parts of yourself you wish to face the world with.  Those things we choose can be an acquiescence, a challenge, a hope, a fear, an upright verity, our an outright falsehood.  However, whatever, and why ever we choose, the results are in the world, and in the faces of all who see us, every day; so choosing with care is a very good thing indeed.
    This post is called fierce individuality, and there are few people of note that I can think better exemplify this concept than Senegalese artist, actor, writer and activist, Issa Samb.  I could go on and on about his extraordinary breadth of artistic endeavor, but its his visual presentation of himself that most intrigues me just now.
    To western eyes, his ever present beret might seem an artistic cliche', but somehow, for him, it isn't so.  Perhaps its because everything else is so unique, so clearly and unabashedly himself, that we understand that it isn't meant with irony, or as some nod to euro-centric notions of what an artist looks like.
    In virtually every thing he puts on he has layered, sometimes literally, so many little messages and ideas, that I could quite literally go on for thousands of words to sort it all out.  His patchwork coats and capes, with there myriad fabrics in sometimes clashing colors and patterns convey an incredible range of things.  An observer would need to think about each fabric as a separate thing, and what it means, then add it all back together to begin to get to all of the complex intent in play.
And even when he is in a simple heather gray tee and a hoodie it is more than that for him.  Its clear that he understands, and glories in, the power of Attire to express.
    So, here is Issa Samb, a true original soul and mightily gifted creator.  Take a good look at how he presents himself and see what things you can begin to understand.

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