First he introduces me to Africa. Then he says, “We’re going to make a baby.”
I can’t say I was surprised. When Flaco Shalom invited me to come document the creation of one of his 3D paintings, I knew something bigger than photographs would come of it.
This past summer, a new muse took hold of Flaco’s work: the famed Black swan, Misty Copeland. In October, he was able to meet his Mona Lisa at a fundraiser for her upcoming documentary, A Life in Motion.
Flaco continued to paint larger than life portraits and murals of the world famous dancer after their meeting, but his work has taken a new, more lively turn, using Black dancers from Detroit.
Africa is a photography student at Western Michigan University and the second dancer to pose for Flaco’s latest series (the first was his choreographer for the upcoming Little Black Tutu’s production at the Untitled Bottega). Having a petite ballerina frame, not too far from Misty herself, Africa easily became a perfect fit for the piece with a few brush strokes.
As an artist, culture creator, and dancer myself, excited and hopeful don’t even begin to cover the ways I am moved by Flaco’s work. Making history ain’t easy, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Don’t be weak.