LATITUDE is excited to welcome David Alekhuogie as its January Artist In Residence!
David Alekhuogie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago earning a post-baccalaureate Bachelor of Art with a focus in Photography in 2013 and Master’s of Fine Art from Yale University in 2015.
Alekhuogie’s multi-disciplinary art practice is centered around photography and investigates and questions the dialectical relationships between politics, race, gender, media, and power. Alekhuogie’s work has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally and his art has been published in publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Timeout magazine, Chicago magazine, Vice magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. Alekhuogie lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Q & A
Your upcoming solo exhibition, Gravity, explores “gravity as a metaphor for human struggle”. Can you expand upon this idea as it relates to your work?
The reference to gravity comes from a desire to draw attention to cultural phenomena that often mirror natural phenomena. Thinking this way gives me access to a conceptual framework for thinking through politically loaded iconography in an abstract formal way. I have a background in engineering and I use terms like gravity, force, momentum, to describe and unpack the way we are affected by things like racism, sexism and xenophobia in modern culture.
In your project Them Boys, you explore intersections of race and gender within hip hop culture. How did you first become interested in these intersections?
I’ve always been interested in those intersections because as a black man I believe I came of age in spaces that were often primarily white, often elite, often sexist. Those spaces left me with a fraught relationship with the construction of my identity, which I think of as quite fluid. My last exhibition, Them Boys, came out of thinking about comments made by Barack Obama about sanctions placed on the sagging of men’s pants. Obama is a man I feel a certain kind of kinship to. He reminds me of my mentors in college, my uncles, my father - men that maybe wanted the best for us but betrayed us through policing, through disapproval and a lack of understanding. The “us” that I’m talking about are the men who’s pants sag. Believe it or not, I feel a kinship to them as well, and my work is this dinner table of a political, uncomfortable, conversation that I’m articulating formally. I wanted to treat the silhouette of pants sagging as a landscape, an arena where people were expressing their agendas regardless of whether they wanted to do harm or not.
What is your earliest memory as a photographer?
My earliest memory as a photographer was photographing my mother in her garden. I made those images when I took my first photography class back in 2009.
Are there any current movies, books, magazines, or podcasts that you recommend for readers to check out?
Films: Moonlight, Girlhood, Crown Heights, OJ: Made in America on ESPN, and Sorry to Bother You.
Podcasts: The Nod, Making It, Code Switch, Science vs, 99% Invisible, and Reply All.
Books: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngonzi Adicchie’s , and The Sellout by Paul Beatty.