To celebrate Akasha Rabut’s photo series at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space opening on Friday night we’ve spoken to her about the origins of this fascinating project. On Friday evening curator Hope Plescia will also be holing a discussion about the photos starting at 7pm.
How did you find out about this subculture and then go on to document it?
When I first moved to New Orleans I would always see well dressed men, holding a bottle of beer in one hand and riding a horse as fast as they could down the neutral ground. I would see these men all around the city. I started seeing them at second lines and took a few photos of them. I tried to track them down to give them the photos but failed. I moved to New York for a few months and decided to move back to New Orleans. The first night I was back in town I was riding my bike through the city at 11pm at night and I randomly bumped into the 504 Boyz on horses in the Central Business District. We chatted and I told them that I wanted to hang out with them and takes some photos. We became friends immediately and I started documenting them.
What does 504 Boyz mean?
504 Boyz is a horse riding organization based out of the 504 area code (New Orleans area)
How long would you spend at these gatherings?
I’ve been to one trail ride and have been shooting the 504 boyz for about 8 months.
What was the diversity like between these people in regards to age and background?
Almost everyone is African American and between the ages of 18 – 60
Where do you think the routes of this subculture have stemmed from, and who can it develop?
The 504 Boyz roots come from one of the first black Cowboys Bill Pickett. Bill Pickett is the inventor of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. The 504 Boyz accept anyone who is “a loyal brother and willing to be a part of the 504 Boyz family.”
The private view and talk will take place on Friday the 20th of March from 7-10pm
Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Project Space
29b Dalston Lane, E8 3DF
Closest trains stations: Dalston Junction or Dalston Kinglsand.