Empowerment refers to a twofold movement: it defines both the gesture by which one attributes power to someone, and the state in which a person finds himself or herself having received the “power to…”. That is, the capacities for self-definition and decision-making that result from, or underpin, emancipation. Thus, in Meleko Mokgosi’s paintings, the quotation of European classical painting acts as a sign: a sign of empowerment over the colonizers, of an erudition that surpasses that of the model and becomes a powerful critique. Aïda Bruyère explores the mechanisms of identity affirmation. Parties, nightclubs and the subcultures linked to them become synonymous with an escape from the everyday and the possibility of a liberated personal and bodily expression (notably through dance, make-up and accessories).  

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