Alexis Peskine’s signature works are large-scale mixed media ‘portraits’ of archetypes from the African diaspora, which are rendered by hammering nails of different gauge, with pin-point accuracy, into wood stained with natural materials such as coffee, mud and hibiscus extract. By applying gold leaf to the nails, he creates breath-taking composite images. Peskine depicts figures that portray strength and perseverance, charged with an energy reminiscent of the spiritually laden minkisi - ‘power figures’ - of the Congo Basin. His particular choice of the medium of nails resonates with sombre tones of the Black Experience, spanning the scale of qualities running from pain to transcendence.
Fire Figures recapitulates and expands upon the conceptual framework deployed in the previous Power Figures series. These striking new works explore the ongoing frustrations experienced by all those of the African Diaspora who continue to encounter endemic systems of racism and violence. All through his life, Peskine has ‘always felt the fire of injustice’ burning close by, a fire which fuels his work and spurs him on. However, he notes, the element of fire also represents an opportunity for cleansing and transformative change. Peskine's depicted subjects seem to see this change, right in front of them, palpably present, yet still unrealised.