Press Release | Amsterdam, November 2020
This winter, Foam 3h presents the work of photographer Les Adu (Netherlands, 1986). The series I Am consists of over one hundred powerful portraits that capture the strength and pride of the black community. Foam shows a selection of these portraits.
I AM by Les Adu was created in the summer of 2020 reacting to the death of George Floyd in the US, and the viral response against police brutality and oppression of Black people. Moved by the ongoing events, but reluctant to limit his actions solely to the use of virtual hashtags, Adu decided to portray his own emotions. In a black-and-white self-portrait Adu pictured himself, vulnerable, emotional, strong, looking straight into the camera, telling the world: ‘This is me, a black man, #IAM’.
Soon after posting the portrait on Instagram Adu received numerous requests from people who wanted to be photographed in the same manner. In three days, he had taken over one hundred portraits of friends, family and acquaintances. On August 25 at exactly twelve o’clock in the afternoon, three months after the death of George Floyd, with no action against the responsible police officers, each person that Adu had portrayed posted their photograph on their Instagram account. By including the hashtag #IAM, the men and women depicted by Adu represent the resilience, joy, power and pride of the Black community in a crucial time when it is still necessary to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.
Les Adu, of Ghanaian descent, was born and raised in Amsterdam Zuidoost. He is a self-taught photographer. He has worked for the Gemeente Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum and Young in Prison among many other projects. Les Adu studied Social Education at the Hoge School van Amsterdam and works as a museum educator at Foam.
The exhibition is made possible by the Van Bijlevelt Foundation and Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab.
I Am by Les Adu can be seen from 18 December to 11 April at Foam. Open daily 10am - 6pm, Thurs/Fri 10am - 9pm.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.
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