Inspired by the ‘80s classic Coming to America, Malek satirizes the American Dream, rendering its ideological shortcomings palpable, in a series of works that depict a fictional African prince in the capitalist landscape of a Western metropolis. The images raise questions about meritocracy, privilege, and immigration, while contemplating American racial tensions as a class war as much as one based on ethnicity. The works are steeped in irony and references to pop culture, making them uncannily familiar and digestible despite their serious subject matter. In this way, Malek uses humour as a rhetorical trick to gain the viewer’s attention and trust, as opposed to being confrontational or didactic.

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Jean Malek © 2020