For his multiyear project titled “The Prophecy,” Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro confronts global issues of ecological devastation. The striking images in the project combine haute couture, spiritual figures, and staged scenes of pollution and decimation.
Made in collaboration with Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy and set primarily in Africa, the series took Monteiro two years to complete. Models representing the children of the Earth Goddess Gaia (known as djinn) are dressed in costumes fashioned to look like the environmental ruin and refuse that surrounds them. Consumer debris like fishing nets and plastic bags form elaborate gowns, headdresses, and garbage accessories that anchor the djinn to the trashed landscapes. All thirteen photographs in the series are currently being shown together for the first time in the United States at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin.
The exhibition was organized to coincide with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 18-month “Interrogating the Plantationocene” Sawyer Seminar. James Wehn, the Van Vleck Curator of Works on Paper at the museum, says that Chazen director Amy Gillain and Professors at the university selected Monteiro’s project “for the compelling way in which the photographs provoke critical conversations about issues central to the seminar.” The course runs through May 2020, while the exhibition of Monteiro’s photographs will end on January 5, 2020.