Hector Mediavilla: S.A.P.E.

Newspace Volunteer Exhibition


On Display: May 4 – June 2
Opening Reception: Friday, May 3, 6-9pm

Newspace Center for Photography is pleased to announce the exhibitions S.A.P.E. by Spanish photographer Héctor Mediavilla in our Main Gallery and a group exhibition from our dedicated core of volunteers in our Special Exhibitions Gallery.

MAIN GALLERY Héctor Mediavilla’s series, S.A.P.E. documents the Sapeurs of Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo. The term Sapeur comes from la sape, which is French slang meaning “to dress with elegance and style”. It is also the abbreviation for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, (Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People).

“At the beginning of the 20th century when the French arrived in Congo, the myth of the Parisian elegance was born among the youth of the Bakongo ethnic group, who were working for the colonizers. At that time, the white man was considered superior, someone showing better manners and elegance. In 1922, Grenard André Matsoua was the first Congolese ever to come back from Paris dressed as a genuine French. His arrival caused indescribable commotion and admiration among his fellow countrymen; he became known as the first Grand Sapeur

Having the respect and admiration of his community, today’s Sapeurs consider themselves artists. They add a touch of glamour to their humble environment through their refined manners and impeccable dressing styles. Each of them is unique showing a particular repertoire of gestures. 
They all share the same dream: To go to Paris and return to Brazzaville as an aristocrat of supreme elegance.”
-Héctor Mediavilla

Héctor Mediavilla is a Spanish documentary photographer who primarily photographs in Africa and Latin America. His work has been published in a number of magazines including Colors, Geo, New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Business Week, and Esquire. His work has been recognized by The Hansel Mieth Prize, The Center Project Competition, Fotopres 05 La Caixa, and Photo España New Talents. His work has been exhibited by the Musée Dapper Paris, the Museum der Weltkulturen Frankfurt, Galleria Ollerios in Sao Paulo and The Centre Culturel Français of Kinshasa. He is represented by the Agency Picture Tank in Paris and is cofounder of the Spanish collective Pandora.

SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS GALLERY Newspace is pleased to share work from our talented volunteers, without whom Newspace could not exist. The Newspace Volunteer Exhibition presents work from members of this dedicated group, showcasing highlighted pieces from current bodies of work.


Thank you to Pro Photo Supply and Pushdot Studio for their support of this exhibition.


Gallery Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10am-9:30pm
Friday – Sunday: 10am-6pm (First Fridays 6-9pm)