South African street artist Faith XLVII explores the alchemy of the artistic process in a global art collaboration for the Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition.
For the tenth annual Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition, the Maison Hennessy has announced its collaboration with Faith XLVII – the first South African artist to be part of the series.
As the guest artist for the tenth annual Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition, Faith XLVII is also the first female voice to join the Limited Editions series; a formidable artistic lineage that features talents such as Felipe Pantone, Vhils, JonOne, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, Futura and Kaws.
Pascal Asin, Managing Director, Moët Hennessy Africa Middle East, says, “This marks an exciting new chapter in the Maison’s tradition of fostering partnerships with artists who are part of a global movement. Through it, Hennessy reaffirms our commitment to supporting emerging talent that strives to effect positive change at community level. It has been a privilege to work with Faith and to reflect on the artistic synergies between our art forms. We believe the result is extremely striking and encapsulates much of what we both stand for”.
Faith XLVII – Alchemist of nature and art
At the root of Faith XLVII’s artistic journey from graffiti artist and muralist to studio artist, is a desire to foster healing and awareness about the interconnected nature of the universe.
“It’s an energetic phenomenon,” the artist explains. “We’re seeing a shift in perspective toward protecting nature, the earth, animals and the environment.”
A self-taught talent, Faith XLVII developed her artistic signature independently, building her vision as she grew up in South Africa. Early on, she became a rare break-out artist in the male-dominated graffiti scene. After first gaining notice under the tag Faith47, her signature evolved to become Faith XLVII.
“There weren’t a lot of women in the space at that time, so I felt the need to challenge the kind of the status quo in a masculine environment,” the artist recalls. In her work, she addressed South Africa’s complex social dynamic from a female perspective, and, notably, in a series based on the Freedom Charter.
”My roots run deep”
In 2017, Faith XLVII relocated from Cape Town to LA, where she continued to expand and redefine her practice. Today, she is a leading player in the international art scene, yet she sees herself as “a citizen of the earth”, part of a wider community of ‘woke’ artists. Through her site-specific works in urban spaces, she seeks to connect with local communities: her monumental black-and-white murals depict animals and mystical creatures as well as symbols of human commonality like maps, hands, and interlaced figures.
A fearless multidisciplinary artist whose visual language spans found and reclaimed objects, collages, painting, video installations and printmaking, Faith XLVII addresses universal issues by highlighting the female perspective.
“My roots run deep,” she explains. “What I learn when I create is the cumulative result of an entire life experience.” For her, this tenth anniversary collaboration is part of a new cycle of creation that begins with Hennessy Very Special. It also opens a fresh chapter. She concludes, “Collaborating with Hennessy dovetails perfectly with things I am always thinking about: the cycles of nature, the phases of the moon, the seasons and a circle-like cyclical time — and just how all of these things make us alive.”
Hennessy Very Special 2020: Blending the Elements
For the 2020 Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition, Faith XLVII has created a powerful work of art representing Hennessy through the elements, earth and the cycles of nature. With the sun and time as central elements, intricate detail pays tribute to nature via references to the moon, rain, clouds and grapevines accentuated in precious gold leaf.
For Faith XLVII, the artistic journey is “a form of alchemy”, a description that naturally chimes with Hennessy’s process.
Upon her first visit to the Chateau de Bagnolet, the Maison’s historic seat in Cognac, France, one of the initial things Faith XLVII sensed was the luxury of time that goes into crafting Hennessy Blends. In her eyes, the complex process of selecting eaux-de-vie — a process that relies on centuries of savoir-faire — offered a soothing antidote to the high-speed digital age.
“Hennessy is rooted in very simple principles, which seem the same as they were when they started more than 250 years ago,” the artist observes. “To me, it’s really beautiful to be connected with a completely natural process.” The bridge between Hennessy’s universe and her own immediately became self-evident.
“In my work, I take the time to seek out form and be considerate of raw materials. There’s a kind of organic alchemy to the process, which is also true of the way Hennessy works. In a way we are both taking basic substances and creating something new,” says Faith XLVII. “My process is similar to the Master Blender’s selection of eaux-de-vie, in that you take basic elements and use them over time to craft something extraordinary.”
A palette inspired by natural colours combines gold elements with peachy, sunset tones, while striking graphic lettering pays tribute to the chalk inscriptions on age-old barrels stored in the Founder’s Cellar in Cognac.
What: Faith XLVII Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition