The last time we spoke with Juanjose was on the occasion of the presentation of his project La nueva España, An initiative that, besides consisting of a series of extremely careful and powerful images, harboured a very deep meaning related to the representation of the Black community in Spanish society. “I wanted to show that the representation of Spanish people does not reside in their skin colour, but in their traditions,” he shared with us at that time. And it is because that visibility –or lack of visibility– of the community to which he, born in Equatorial Guinea (a Spanish ex-colony) and raised in Spain since he was just a baby, also belongs to, is one of the main leitmotifs of his creative imaginary.
El Matador is emotion, passion and art. But also memory and past experiences. “Even though I grew up surrounded by a lot of Spanish people, my mother always made sure to remind me where I came from and the importance of not forgetting that I am a Black African man in Spain,” adds the creative, who has shot the photos that he presents to us today in London, with the help of photographer Marcelo Popaj and Aymeric Pichegrain. Inspired by the strength of traditional dance and the control of passion and energy evident in its actors, Juanjose recreates through this project his most personal vision, imagining himself on stage as the most famous dancer of all time.
From Flamenco to Iberia, there are many documentaries that the stylist has drawn onto in the previous stage to materialise his original idea. A process in which he has reflected on the null institutional support from the government to certain groups, the conception of art and his own identity. “You don’t have to abandon your roots totally in order to fit in the Spanish society,” he emphatically asserts when we ask him about the message that El Matador conveys.