American Cowgirls & Cowboys

By Cyril Bailleul

On February 1 to 28, 2020 on the city hall gates

It was in 2012, quite by chance, that the photographer discovered African American cowboys and cowgirls and the Bill Pickett Rodeo in Atlanta.

Bill Pickett, legendary cowboy Taylor, Texas, descendant of Africans and Cherokee Indians, was born in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War. Pickett invented the technique of “Bulldogging”, which earned him the nickname: “The Bull -Dogger. ”

He will perform in the biggest rodeo shows in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and even in England. He became the first actor in African American western cinema and was admitted to the National Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1971. In the 19th century, more than a quarter of cowboys were descendants of Africans. Each year, since its creation in 1984 by Lu Vason,

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo crosses the United States to celebrate the legacy of African American cowgirls and cowboys, too often erased, whether by Hollywood in western movies or well in history books. Fascinated by cultural diversity since his beginnings as a photographer with UNESCO, and always imbued with the quote from Saint-Exupéry “If you differ from me, my brother, far from harming me, you enriched me. ”, Cyril Bailleul, in the continuity of this approach, wishes to share with us, through the exhibition“ In the footsteps of Bill Pickett ”, this western African-American heritage, an important American cultural heritage paradoxically too often forgotten in a country which draws its richness from crossbreeding and successive migrations.

Biography Born in Paris in 1971, Cyril Bailleul, during his first exhibition at the Maison Nationale des Artistes in 1991, was fortunate to have the visit of Willy Ronis and the surprise to discover in the guest book the following message: “You have an“ eye ”, Best regards, Willy Ronis” (at twenty years, that motivates to continue). Then it was a succession of meetings which unconsciously guided his life as a photographer.

For him, "The magic of photography is to be able to move from one world to another, it's almost as if photography is only an excuse to live experiences and take a look at them." From 1997, following a beautiful meeting, he collaborates with UNESCO (the children of the favelas in Brazil, weaving villages in Bangladesh with Bibi Russell, portraits of the Ambassadors of Good Will, etc.) A few years as an official photographer and at the production of magazine subjects for the Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg, but also photographer in Paris for Kofi Annan, for the UN, for various heads of state, ministers, as well as collaborations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie.

Especially a succession of beautiful encounters, the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala, the Abbé Pierre who says to him after a portrait at his home in Alfortville "you put lots of memories in your little e box "or President Abdou Diouf who after two or three photos for a portrait laughing said" Cyril, you're photophagous! In 2000, he produced for the Institute of Contemporary Art of Portugal and UNESCO a series of portraits of Portuguese visual artists followed by numerous exhibitions.

In parallel with his commissioned work Cyril Bailleul, he found a passion for the South of the United States which he exhibits in Paris and recently during the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival.

2019: exhibition Museo da cidade de Aveiro - Portugal
2018: exhibition during the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival - USA 2017: exhibition Galerie Jacques De Vos Paris _ France
2011: exhibition Museo da Cidade de Aveiro - Portugal
2010: acquisitions by the Ministry of Culture of Portugal of photographic works over several years. 2008: exhibition UNESCO Paris - France
2000: exhibition Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Lisboa - Portugal
2000: exhibition FNAC Lisboa