Azikiwe Mohammed

'Blackest Night: A Survey in Blackness'

SCAD Museum of Art presents the first museum exhibition by New York-based artist Azikiwe Mohammed. His multidisciplinary practice — which merges painting, photography, sculpture, performance and found ephemera — prioritizes the experiences, needs and subjectivity of people of color in America. His primary concern is the foregrounding of these narratives, potential futures and histories, and creating the physical spaces for such to thrive in.

SCAD define art exhibition image for Azikiwe Mohammed
Azikiwe Mohammed, "Blackest Night," performance still, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

An ongoing part of the artist's practice orbits around New Davonhaime, a city conceived of by Mohammed that provides a look at a sustainable version of a self-dictated future for black/African-American residents of this country, as well as being a site of interventions and actions in both formal and non-traditional exhibition spaces. Its name is derived from a linguistic mashup of the five American cities with the highest density of African-American residents in the U.S. (New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Savannah, Georgia), and is a conceptual departure point for much of the artist's recent work.

New Davonhaime is also "home" to Jimmy, the artist's alter ego and the proprietor of Jimmy's Thrift of New Davonhaime, takes the form of an installation in the gallery. Jimmy is both the keeper of New Davonhaime's history and the stories imbedded in the objects on display in his shop, and he also functions as a griot, or traveling poet/storyteller that maintains oral histories. During the opening week of the exhibition, Jimmy will be present in the museum to engage with visitors.

"Blackest Night: A Survey in Blackness" draws from Mohammed's extensive travels throughout the U.S., which he has used largely as research trips, gathering information to create new objects while also gathering other objects from the towns that make up New Davonhaime. Also on view is a new series of photographic portraits. The exhibition will include a number of new works, including a large-scale neon sculpture.

This exhibition is part of SCAD deFINE ART 2019, held Feb. 26–28 at university locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

About the artist

SCAD deFINE ART guest Azikiwe Mohammed

Mohammed's artwork has been shown in galleries both nationally and internationally. His work has been featured extensively in magazines, including VICE, I-D, Artforum, BOMB and Hyperallergic. Mohammed has presented a number of solo exhibitions in venues including the Knockdown Center, Maspeth, New York; Long Gallery Harlem, New York, New York; Ace Hotel Chicago, Illinois; IDIO Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; as well as multiple solo offerings at Spring Break Art Show, New York. He has participated in group exhibitions at MoMa PS1, Queens, New York; Antenna gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, California and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others.

Mohammed lives in New York and currently has his studio at Mana Contemporary as part of the Mana BSMT program.

Install Views

Credits

"Blackest Night: A Survey in Blackness" is curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg, head curator of SCAD Exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for all museum members, and SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

More on view