Ayana V. Jackson “Distant Selves”
This event has ended.
The portrait series “African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth (2003-2005)” and “Agua Dulce” (2006) aimed to highlight the fact that the majority of the enslaved Africans transported to the Americas were situated in Latin America and the Caribbean. In creating these works, the artist wanted to shift the narrative away from a focus on the familiar Black US American experience as an effort to be more inclusive of other subjectivities pertaining to the transatlantic slave trade. “Portrait of the New Guard,” on the other hand, looks forward toward the “new” South Africa (2007). It turns its back on apartheid, not to pretend that it did not exist, but to celebrate the new generation of “born frees” who are shaping their own realities, unburdened by first-hand experience with the demons of the past. “Commuter Vans” and “No Man’s Land” (2008), created in Nairobi, Kenya, is a portrait series on matatu (commuter van) operators working in an around the city center. She calls them “coyotes” after the term used for the guides who help smuggle South American immigrants across the border. She uses this metaphor because on board a matatu, people find themselves in a sort of no man’s land where cultural, political, and national borders dissolve. This work is meant to question the relevance of national borders in cosmopolitan cities like Nairobi. From there the exhibition jumps to more recent works from “Poverty Pornography” and “Archival Impulse,” created in 2011 and 2012. These works mark a significant transition in practice from more traditional analog portraiture to conceptual digital photo montage/performance. “Death” and “Diorama” are the results of the artist’s quest to identify photographic clichés of the black body created during the period of photographic history that was underscored by the goals colonial expansion in Africa, as well as enslavement in the Americas.
[Image “Death From Poverty Pornography” (2011) archival pigment print ED 6/6 148x145 cm 57 1/8x58 1/4 in.]
from December 20, 2013 to February 01, 2014