French artist of American, Congolese and Spanish origin, Pharaoh works in different mediums; photography, video, textile and sculpture.
Pharaoh Kakudji has been immersed in the visual arts and music since birth, both of his parents being artists themselves.
After studying at the Lycée Montaigne, he completed a year of academic studies at the Prep'Art school in Paris and, after graduating, moved to New York at 19 to pursue his artistic career. Today, he works between New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Part of his work consists of reappropriating street billboards and painting the front of them.
The themes of his practice are varied, from portraits of his friends to self-portraits that convey his entire vision of the world. Each page of this story differs according to its geographical location. Sometimes the paintings may express the artist's desire, sometimes a simple critique of the world around him. Her other mediums include photography, video, textiles and sculpture.
Dialogue between Pharaoh Kakudji and Eve Therond
— Mentorat Reiffers Art Initiatives 2021
“I started painting on posters when I arrived in New York because I didn't have enough money to buy canvases. The year before, I painted on large sheets of paper at school. In New York, I saw posters glued on the walls, stacked on top of each other, and I had the idea to peel them off to see what I could do with them, because there was no reason not to try, and, more generally, I like to see beauty in the raw and the rough (paper in this case). And so, one day, I was invited to participate in a group show at the Bowery gallery in early February. I had this large piece of poster that I was waiting to paint. I wanted to wait for the right moment to paint it, because it was my first poster work, and so I painted something on the theme of the exhibition – which was “women expression”. It was my first poster painting. Painting my friends and myself is one way of expressing some of the issues that my peers face. A way to express what I see and feel in life. I am a witness to our generation, representing what I see in a certain way. I always have something to say through the figuration in my painting, which is often metaphorical. I would say that life inspires me first: what I see and what I feel outside, but also on my phone, at the movies... well, anything really. And then, I also draw inspiration from the different cultures that I grew up in and with."