Image of a Daisy with the words

Hector Mediavilla, Delagrace, aka “The Icon of Beautiful Color”
Interpretation by Jane Epstein

Photograph: The sapeur Delagrace, also known as the icon of beautiful colors, poses in the entrance to his room.

Hector Mediavilla, Delagrace aka “The Icon of Beautiful Color”, 2006 digital print on Hahnemühle paper. Museum purchase, Sinon Collection Fund.

Hector Mediavilla, born in 1970, is a visual storyteller living in Barcelona. His main focus is addressing issues related to the construction of identity in unique human groups, and their relationship with the environment. Although initially wanting to denounce injustices, over time his interest has moved towards understanding the human condition. He has held a participatory photography workshop with a group of women at risk of social exclusion in Barcelona, and developed a project with a group of adults with developmental disabilities. His photographs have been exhibited at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), Guggenheim Bilbao, as well as in museums in Paris, Frankfurt, and Spain, among others.

“Delagrace, or the Icon of Beautiful Color” refers to the ‘sapeurs,’ or members of SAPE, the Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People. At the start of the 20th century when the French arrived in the Congo, the myth of Parisian elegance was born among a group of ethnic youth. Today’s Sapeurs consider themselves artists; they add a touch of glamour to their humble environment through their refined manners and impeccable dressing styles. Each is unique, possessing a particular and individualized dress and repertoire of gestures. 

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