I met Ndalla Fernand in the subway. He was dressed in all white from head to toes. His outfit immediately reminded me of the spirit of New Orleans that I had experienced a few months before and I asked him if I could paint his portrait. Ndalla works as the “concierge” of a building on the Avenue de l’Opéra in Paris. He is Congolese and has about 300 costumes, hats and shoes: he’s a real dandy.
Ndalla Fernand is also a thinker. He writes about democracy in his native Congo. He is banned to go back by the Congolese government. He regularly goes to a café near Gare de l’Est where customers and servers call him “the Senator” and where he meets with like-minded Congolese friends. I painted his portrait in different settings: on the stairs of the building where he works, in the bar, and on the train.