Awol Erizku Brings the Street Into the Gallery in “The Only Way Is Up”
Distressed by the lack of representation for people of color in art history and museums and galleries, Awol Erizku aims to rectify this omission in his photographs, sculptures, and video installations, which are centered upon subjects of color. In his words, “There are not that many colored people in the galleries that I went to [growing up] or the museums that I went to. I was just like, when I become an artist I have to put my two cents in this world.” He does this in a critically acclaimed series of photographic portraits, re-crafting famous painted portraits by artists like Vermeer and Caravaggio by replacing their white subjects with contemporary black ones. By re-staging these and other iconic works of art, Erizku engages in critical discourse with the past, cracking open the canon with historically repressed voices.
American, b. 1988, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, based in Los Angeles, CA, United States