11439 - 39202
February 15 - April 23, 2021
February 15 - April 23, 2021
The Yeh Art Gallery at St. John’s University is proud to present 11439 - 39202, a solo show of more than 30 new textile works by Azikiwe Mohammed. 11439 - 39202 is the first exhibition to focus entirely on Mohammed’s textiles and finds its center by joining the narratives of the Black, brown, and marginalized peoples living between the zip codes for which the exhibition takes its name: Queens, NY and Jackson, MS respectively. The exhibition is on view from February 15 - April 23, 2021.
Mohammed’s installations are layered portraits of American Blackness. The dark, wood-paneled setting for 11439 - 39202 places us between the basement bars of Black families from the ‘60s and ‘70s, the South’s log cabins, as well as the small bars across America that Mohammed has frequented for the past 10 years. These kinds of Black interiors and establishments have generated much of the information this show grows from; small Black-owned bars and businesses, many of which have not survived the pandemic’s economic fallout.
What are the spaces Black people have held for safety? What are the spaces that ensure there will be Black people in the future? What are the spaces that Black people have built to shield themselves from the outside that wants not its continuance? Over the past year as we have watched COVID-19 wreak havoc on us all, Black and brown people have disproportionately borne the brunt of this pandemic in ways that mirror traumas of years past. As we have watched the concerns of Black people come to the fore we are asked, are these issues new? What about them being touted as new rings stale?
With the textile works created on the occasion of 11439 - 39202 — from found denim jackets embroidered with portraits of Black people spanning from Queens to Jackson to the large-scale quilts of Black people at leisure in Flushing Meadows and Seneca Village (the African American settlement displaced to create Central Park) — Mohammed embraces a medium built dually for storytelling and the crafting of home. Mohammed’s exhibition looks to open a hand on some of these circumstances that have led to our longstanding inequities, some older, some new, but none with a face that is wholly unrecognizable.
About Azikiwe Mohammed
A Bard College graduate, Azikiwe Mohammed has received the Art Matters and the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist grants, and held residencies at Pioneer Works and Mana Contemporary. Mohammed has presented solo exhibitions in venues including Ace Hotel, Chicago; Anna Zorina Gallery, New York; Knockdown Center, New York; Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami; and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah. He has participated in group exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Antenna Gallery, New Orleans; MoMa PS1, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. His work has been acclaimed by such media outlets as The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Forbes, Frieze, artnet News, and Artforum, among others.
Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439 - 39202 is generously supported by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.
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Photo above: Azikiwe Mohammed, 8:21pm, Chicken Bone Beach, Atlantic City, NJ, 2021, tapestry. Image courtesy the artist.