Renegades, a photographic series by Frank Marshal, captures the Heavy Metal subculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As we know, Heavy Metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian and Eurocentric. All of these things, however, are not an obvious description of Sub-Saharan Africa. Marshall’s portraits offer a vision of an unlikely Heavy Metal subculture in Botswana, his subjects are an anomaly, a reaction to a strictly occidental genre. Marshall aptly labels his subjects as renegades, as he renders portraits of rebellious individuals who form part of “an ulterior, emergent rootedness where traditional identities and political histories in Botswana are subverted”. Furthermore, Marshal’s portraits break down established archetypes of ethnicity, cultural identity, and ideology. These individuals are on the fringe of a society that is already situated within the ‘geographical and ideological’ space of the Other, meaning that they are already viewed as exotic by the Occident.
The peculiar thing here is, that we see the ‘Other’ under an completely unpredictable light.
Tribe-like, Heavy Metal possesses an unconscious sense of brotherhood that transcends race and nationality in the context of Renegades. So too, Marshall’s renegades unpack popular stereotypes, transcending traditions, blurring the boundaries between liberty and fraternity, helping to delineate the power structures inherent to Heavy Metal, which may be misinterpreted as a trace of an oppressive past. This is in keeping with the extremism of Heavy Metal ideology, embracing anything that popular culture finds unacceptable.
(via Rooke Gallery)