La Fantaisie Ibeji uses hypnotic imagery to represent the “twin spirit” in reference to depictions of twinning across West Africa from photography to marketplace to mosque. The Yoruba aesthetic of twoness, ejiwapo, as discussed by African art historian Babatunde Lawal, becomes inspiration for a dreamscape in homage to the dual self. In remixed footage from three performance-installations, the experimental video opens portals into fantastical spaces with twinned figures whose ritualized gestures evoke dualities of life and death. With the accompanying performance for Petty Biennial II, Duyst-Akpem presents the film in ritual with leaves drawn in homage to Osanyin, the orisa of healing and forest wisdom, and sculpted clay kola nuts to open the ceremony. Fresh soil is anointed with cleansing oil, water, breath, and incantation as the objects are arranged within a chalk-drawn eight-pointed star, the adinkra symbol nsoromma inscribed on the artist’s wrist, meaning “child of the heavens, child protected by God”, performed embodying a composite character based on an ecology of historical archetypes: Queen of Pentacles, High Priestess, Hathor, Freya, Amaterasu, Osun, and Medusa, all speaking to the cycles of fertility and abundance, darkness and transformation. The title La Fantaisie Ibeji is both reference to mystical search for twin-self and a poetic gesture in its vocalization. Duyst-Akpem often utilizes titles as way to share art historical information; as an activist position to effect greater visibility of key practitioners and concepts each time an title is shared; and to activate a sonic pattern, summoning the work itself through vocalization, in keeping with Dr. Rowland Abiodun’s discussion of asé, catalytic life force, in the creation of art.  


La Fantaisie Ibeji has been/will be featured in the following exhibitions and screenings:

Upcoming 2021 – LabBodies Inaugural Biennial, curated by Ada Pinkston, Baltimore, MD

2020 – A Beautiful Struggle: Black Feminist Futures, curated by Juana Williams, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), Grand Rapids, MI

2019-2020 – Petty Biennial II, Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, IL

2019 – Brother El’s Sandbox Symphony IV, 39th Street Beach Fieldhouse, Chicago, IL

2019 – Speculations, curated by Joana Joachim, ARTEXTE, Montréal, Canada

2017 – Blackbox: An Afrofuturist Opus, curated by Courtney Cintron, Neiman Center, Chicago, IL

2017 – Magnetic Electro Masquerade, An Evening of Afro Electronica Music and Afro-futurist Cosplay, hosted by David Boykin and Ytasha Womack, The Promontory, Chicago, IL

2015 – Magnetic Electro Masquerade, backdrop for guest performances (Moor Mother, Black Quantum Futurism), Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL