In partnership with Rharha Nembhard and Gabrielle Kannemeyer, Petite Noir gives us a breathtaking visual mini-album titled La Maison Noir (The gift and the curse) that looks at the cycle and the journey of life as we know it.
Petite Noir is arguably one of this generation’s great thinkers and visionaries when it comes to his performance arts and conceptualizing, together with his equally amazing partner, visual artist, and creative director Rharha Nembhard. Petite and his clique are a forward-thinking bunch that has pushed the envelope sonically and visually.
The leader of his own movement called the Noirwave which is retelling the black African story and breaking limits the world has set and we have come to believe.
Petite Noir describes La Maison Noir as a mini-album offering that explores the evolution of Noirwave and its manifesto. The mini-album is paired with a film that visually follows his personal journey and the introduction to ‘manhood’ and ‘Africaness’.
The film comprises of four chapters which are KALA (Birth), Takula (Life), Luvemba (Death), and Musoni (Rebirth).
Essentially, the film and the album is inspired by the circle of life and each phase is represented by a colour (RED, Life is GREEN, Death is WHITE and BLUE and Rebirth WHITE). Read more below as we dissect and look at each chapter and phase according to what they represent for Petite.
Petite Nior wakes from the soil which he is covered in and you quickly see him sitting facing a young boy. This scene can be interpreted in one of two ways – the first being that the young man is sitting there as the younger version of Petite, who is ushering him into the world to bring change to it as he has seen the evils of the world before. The second is that the young boy can be looked at as a child as a metaphor for Petite’s rebirth or reincarnation.
In this same chapter, evil vices that have plagued humanity now are introduced to us in the form of gadgets, technology and other Western symbols that are reminiscent of the oppression that Africans have suffered. Petite and the “younger” version of himself are on a mission to cleanse and abolish these influences and past memories from the new African minds.
Moreover, we see the young man lead the men on a path of salvation where they realize what the control mechanics are and light a fire to burn everything. They are controlling us through our television sets, technology and brought guns. these are the content that is used to control us and so they burned them and by doing so they are liberated.
Takula is all about women’s empowerment and to show the strength that is female. This depicts women as strong and independent to break African cultural dogmas that have made irrefutable roles for men and women. The chapter subtly expresses the known fact that women are the innate givers of life on Earth which simultaneously makes them divine.
We see the women of this imaginary village and tribe leave their assumed domestic roles to get into combat as militant soldiers. The military is usually how the world determines the strength of a country based on the strength of its military forces. So in dressing the women in military attire is implying that they are the backbone of the village and the Noirwave, and are the strength that holds it together.
Below is a shot of Rharha Nembhard, who is Petite Noir’s real life companion and co-leader of the Noirwave movement and ideology.
This chapter tackles the complexities of death and its many unknowns in a creative depiction of the process of entering the afterlife. Here you see them walking in the desert to a decapitated temple where it seems as if his life is being played back to him.
This is the last and final chapter that concludes the cycle and you see them getting baptized a symbolic ritual of rebirth.
Many religions and beliefs around the world believe in the process of rebirth. This is something that Petite explores and goes through in this chapter. We know that in his personal life, Petite has gone through various changes and rebirths, between getting married and revolving as an artist. Moreover, this could be the start of a new life for the Noirwave.
Check out the full film above.