MODE 2 – ARTWORK

Mode 2 was born in Mauritius in 1967 and moved to London in 1976, where he did most of his schooling. He has been drawing for as far back as he can remember and spent his youth deep into comics, sci-fi and fantasy literature, as well as role-playing games such as “Dungeons & Dragons”. Throughout his life this has remained his main discipline, no matter where he went in the world, or what he was getting involved in. When he finished his ‘O’-level exams in summer ‘84, he started hanging out at Covent Garden, in central London, which was then the main hub of the London Hip Hop scene. Because of his ability at drawing, he decided to pick up the spraycan, and from that moment onwards, set about making a name for himself within the global hip hop community. He was already getting commissioned work in 1984, and went on to be on the cover of “Spraycan Art” (Thames & Hudson) in 1987; the first book to document the worldwide graffiti-writing scene, as opposed to what had been going on in New York since the early seventies.

Even though this is what he is most famous for, Mode 2’s interests are more into culture in general and its impact on society as a whole. He was already taking pictures of the scene going on around him back in 1985, trying to document something that was for him far more important than just the fun that everyone was having. The culture brought together youth from all backgrounds, and had all basic forms of artistic expression as its disciplines. In today’s world, he believes, culture is the only tool by which many of the youth can be made receptive to education, especially in the more deprived communities, and more generally as a tool to ward off many social ills whilst inspiring and empowering the needy.

In 1989, he was asked to paint different murals around the suburbs of Paris for the bicentennial of the French Revolution. His skills were a valuable tool in creating bridges between the many youth clubs he worked for and their local population. He was asked to participate in “graffiti-workshops” also, but became quickly aware that many ideas coming from the different socio-cultural institutions regarding youth tend not to be in touch with the reality of things, and do not guarantee any long-term solutions to the problems of the inner-cities. He therefore took a step back from work of this kind, and went travelling instead, painting on different hip hop events around the world, and using the opportunity to meet others sharing the same concerns that he has about the future. He insists on applying his ideas for social and cultural reform and evolution through the culture itself, taking part in many conferences on the culture, pushing the ideas through the murals themselves (such as a 50m-long underpass for the city of Waneroo in Western Australia in January 1995), or giving advice and consultancy on the organisation of events.

He was one of the key speakers for the “Hip Hop; A Cultural Expression” seminar held at Cleveland State University in September 1999, having already been on the discussion panels at other events such as the B-Boy Summit in San Diego in 1996 and 1997. His knowledge of the culture, and his outspoken ideas and visions regarding the future of the culture make him a regular invitee to such debates. The history that he has lived alongside his contemporaries within this omnipresent culture makes characters such as himself rare pools of knowledge and understanding of a form of expression that many talk about, but so few hold any grip onto its history or its dynamics.

Read more here

(below are images I found on the internet)



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