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On the occasion of Kehinde Wiley's solo exhibition A Maze of Power at Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, l'Université populaire is inviting the artist as well as Sarah Ligner and Claire Tancons to discuss the representation of power. The conference "Le pouvoir a-t-il une image?" will take place on Wednesday, September 27, from 6:30pm to 8pm at the Théâtre Claude Lévi-Strauss. Free and open to all, subject to availability.

Sarah Ligner is the Head of the Historical and Contemporary Globalization Collection at the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. Claire Tancons is a curator and art historian.

In his latest exhibtion, A Maze of Power, Kehinde Wiley presents a series of portraits of African heads of state – an exploration around the representation of power on which the painter has been working confidentially since 2012. It was during the Barak Obama presidency that WIley began to question the meaning of presidential leadership. Over the past 10 years, he has traveled the continent of Africa, to meet various leaders – whose names are kept confidential prior to the opening of the exhibition. He discussed with each of them the history of aristocratic, royal and military portraiture in 17th to 19th century Europe in order to develop, a collaborative composition that illustrates what it means to be a contemporary African leader. The portraits are designed to reflect the distinctive cultural elements of each State, thus highlighting the immense diversity of the African continent, and to reveal the identity of an individual through the double prism of the artist and his model. This body of work is accompanied by a film presenting the working method and the artist's travels across the continent to meet his models. From this work is born an in-depth investigation on the staging of power through portrait, as well as on the maze of choices within which the artists and models, must make their way. The exhibition is curated by Sarah Ligner, Head of the Historical and Contemporary Globalization Collection at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. In dialogue with the artist Kehinde Wiley and Galerie Templon.

Photo: Courtesy of Kehinde Wiley Studio