Reversed, in a gesture that aims at a reversal of perspective, at a flip of the gaze.
In 2020, Jojo Gronostay captured the loose gestures of street vendors holding bags that imitate other bags. Every vendor ties the bags to a rope so they are ready to run, should the police manifest itself. So the ropes hang all day long and as time goes by, the hand relaxes. So much that it can appear to be passive. Mistakenly so, as through the work of those hands - via the gap in which the imitation takes place - a parallel economy unfolds that is capable of sustaining entire families back in Africa.
In order to pay hommage to these hands, Gronostay flips them. Upside down, they no longer resemble beggars hands and join the hands of a pictorial tradition that ennobled its subjects. During Renaissance, models coming from the street would become gods and mythological characters at the hands of artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo. Reversed, a hand holding a rope in a street far away from home is now reminding of the Creation of Adam that adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, in which God is about to touch the hand of Adam with his own hand, and create life.
With a flip, the boredom of waiting for someone in the street becomes the sophisticated idleness of a god. A street god hidden in the palm of a hand, and a hommage to the artist’s father who, emigrated from Ghana to Germany, provided for his family with his low income job—his own son, eventually, becoming an artist now working between Europe and Ghana.