‘Joie de vivre’, the French phrase that has comfortably made its way into the English language. As in its original meaning, we English speakers also use it to convey that carefree attitude and enjoyment of life.
Two years ago, Dakar-based photographer Fabrice Monteiro began a project that asked what does joie de vivre look like within an African society, more specifically a Senegalese one. Where would moments shared between lovers, friends or even individuals having fun be? What would these instances look like?
© Fabrice Monteiro. A Gorean Summer. Courtesy of the artist.
He found inspiration for the photo essay A Gorean Summer on the beaches of Gorée Island. That this story begins on a small tract of land with a dark and sordid history, as a gateway for slave trade, should not be lost to our collective memory. Yet without trivializing the past it is possible to move forward, and in Monteiro’s images this takes shape in the gentle embrace of lovers, summer days where youth gather around impromptu dance offs and quiet moments lulled by lapping waves.
A Gorean Summer begins on the beaches of Goree island, extending to Dakar’s surrounding beaches. The full series can be viewed on Monteiro’s website.
Fabrice Monteiro is an emerging artist working in the fields of photojournalism, fashion photography, and portraiture. Born to a Beninese father and a Belgian mother, his childhood was nurtured in transculturalism. Monteiro studied industrial engineering before turning to photography. His first foray as a professional model afforded him the chance to become aware of the complexities of composition, lighting and posture. Traveling the world inspired him to develop more creative projects, Monteiro was not destined to become a photographer, photography came to him.
In 2007, he would meet the New York photographer Alfonse Pagano, who quickly becomes his friend and mentor. Assuming his creative predilection, Monteiro strives to build a visual world in his own multicultural image, mastering the aesthetics that allows his images to carry the weight of traditions and modernity. He is represented by M.I.A. Gallery.
Written by Missla Libsekal.
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All images courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.