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David D. Pistol’s Instagram Takeover

David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing.
David D. Pistol.

A year ago we started this wild idea of hosting Instagram Residencies on our social media feed. What was first a response to museum closure during the pandemic quickly became a commitment from us to discover emergent practices and broaden our perspectives.

This week, we are very excited to be welcoming David D. Pistol and his camera. After travelling the world, the Chicago-raised photographer is now based in Aylmer (Gatineau). Starting tomorrow join us in the discovery of his most recent works, as well as the cardinal themes that guide his practice in our sixth residency.

Stay tuned !

Follow @daviddpistol‘s Takeover on Instagram

Day 1 – Monday February 21, 2022

We are pleased to introduce you to David D. Pistol, born in Ottawa, raised in Chicago, world traveller and currently based in Aylmer (Gatineau). As a photographer, he specializes in portraits, documentary and journalistic photography. In addition to his craft, David also defines himself as a social activist, writer, fashion trendsetter and multimedia aficionado.

Join us in following him this week as he reflects on current systemic issues that matter a great deal to him… and to us. Talking about his creative process, David will also touch on uncomfortable topics that are oppression, discrimination, but also the notion of self-love.
David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing

𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿

“On July 9, 2016, thousands of Americans participated in demonstrations opposing police brutality and demanding accountability that Friday night, following the recent deaths of two African-American men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the hands of law enforcement. Following this historical event, I wrote a piece that still rings true today called “Educate”. Take the time to look at the carousel.

The power of loving yourself is a great tool to fight adversity and oppression. Through it you can overcome so many things. Throughout most of my life, I have been judged automatically by the colour of my skin, given that society sees “Black People” in a different light. Let’s just remember that not too long ago we were sold as commodities none human. I took these photos celebrating my culture, my ancestors, and the love of being black.

Sentence after sentence, pronoun, verb…articulate

May the words from my black lips…stimulate

So many gone by the hateful guns… the current state

Thousands taken by Police…militate?

Media paints an ugly brush…alienate

Search for truth know your history…investigate

Anger consumes my body daily…hesitate

What can we do to make a difference…congregate

Black Lives Matter…communicate

Spread love and hope to the children…liberate

Blue and Black equal death…negotiate

Caught in systematic injustice…eradicate

What’s the price of a black man’s life…evaluate

We need justice to survive…legislate

We need to Defund the Police…deflate

Nearly a million imprisoned…emancipate

May my words fall upon your bleeding HeART…resonate

We are many cultures that bleed one…collaborate

No need to understand our differences…appreciate

Jim Crow, few know the name …educate

Let us come together…motivate!

– David D. Pistol

David D. Pistol, Black Power.
David D. Pistol, Black Power.
David D. Pistol, Black Power.

Day 2 – Tuesday February 22, 2022

𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫

“Black women have always played a critical role in my life from the strength of my mother down to my aunts. They have taught me the power of respect, being independent , tough love, hard work, and beauty. To this day they inspire and nurture my existence. One of my favourite poems is “Still I Rise”, written in 1978 by Maya Angelou, reminds me of the black women who played a critical role in my life. As Maya wrote in this poem:

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise'”

– Maya Angelou, , “Still I Rise” from “And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems”, 1978.

David D. Pistol, Black Queen Power.
David D. Pistol, Black Queen Power.
David D. Pistol, Black Queen Power.

Day 3 – Wednesday February 23, 2022

Growing up in the states, I have witnessed blatant racism. There were no questions as to whether they wanted you there or not.

In my journey to understand, grow and spread happiness, love and knowledge, I’ve come across so much history that has opened my eyes to so many things. As I continue to question and seek out the truth I challenge myself daily to question, compassion, and understand that everything is not what it looks like at times. I accept not to be normal. I can only hope that as I continue to share my HeART, it will drive you to question, challenge and love as well.

A country that has been built on lies and corruption, continues to silence those of the minorities oppressed. Continuing to destroy the sense of humanity and take away from our natural state, that is to love and nurture yourself and others. How much longer shall we as a people continue to be ‘Gagged’? Seek the truth and love yourself.

David D. Pistol, Blind Freedom.
David D. Pistol, Blind Freedom.
David D. Pistol, Blind Freedom.

Day 4 – Thursday February 24, 2022

One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life was getting away from the dark and cold winters. I wanted to expand my portfolio and see the world.I knew that I couldn’t do another cold winter in Ottawa. At first, I was going to apply for my Jamaican passport given that my parents are both from there (I have yet to visit my homeland but she is on my list once I start travelling again). Actually, one of my favourite photographers is from there, Peter Dean Richards @afflictedyard… but I digressed. My desire to no longer do any cold winters took me to the beautiful country of Mexico. Through that decision, I met so many different people from all over the world, in particular, I met the founders of Yanga Clothing @yanganation.

David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing
David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing

Learning about the GYanga I was honoured to have the opportunity to create photos for the brand. Gaspar Yanga—often simply Yanga or Nyanga—was an African who led a ‘maroon’* colony of slaves in the highlands near Veracruz (Mexico) during the early period of Spanish colonial rule. (*’Maroon’ were descendants of Africans in the Americas who formed settlements away from slavery.) They succeeded in maintaining their settlement isolated for over 30 years. They also successfully resisted an attack by the Spanish government in 1609.

Always follow that fire within and never let anyone put it out, it is what will lead you to your destiny.

David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing
David D. Pistol, Yanga Clothing

Day 5 – Friday February 25, 2022

In the time of uncertainty fresh into the pandemic, we faced the unknown on a scale foreign to us as a society. During the summer three talented young black artists, @jimmy_baptiste, and @drippin_soul were commissioned to put up a piece on Bank & Lisgar across from Wallacks (in Ottawa). I had the honour of documenting these brothers’ work on this one-week project. The energy from the community, them, and summer hot days were beautiful to be around. I dubbed them The Kings of Hope as they brought hope and life to the city that summer, when it was needed. Even to this day, when I walk by that piece it reminds me that we can overcome anything with love, communities and hope.

David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.
David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.
David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.

These photographs are an expression of what I saw and felt that week. My favourite time of the day to shoot there was near 4-5 p.m. The sun shifting through the sky casting these beautiful shadows, it was tough to shoot that week, let alone paint in the heat. People would stop by and drop off food, water and conversation for the artist. The community was thankful for the piece being put up, it gave them hope.

David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.
David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.
David D. Pistol, Kings of Hope.

We had the pleasure this week to welcome local photographer David D. Pistol for our sixth Instagram “takeover”. We invite you to watch his interview during which we dig deeper in David’s practice and creative process.

This discussion is offered in English, the language chosen by the artist, and subtitled in French.

To visit David’s website.

Discover the other Instagram Takeovers.

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