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David Alekhuogie

Born 1986, Los Angeles, California

David Alekhuogie is an artist who reexamines and reframes conventional cultural narratives -- evidenced by the work on view here. His source for this work and its overall image is an open book. The book in question is a catalogue documenting African Negro Art, a landmark exhibition staged by the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1935. Comprised of 600 African sculptures, the works were presented not as ethnographic objects, but as works of art. 

In tandem with this endeavor, MoMA commissioned the young Walker Evans to photograph the sculptures. His close focus on these subjects highlighted the details of their carving, and their aesthetic qualities. Alternating between frontal, side and rear profiles, Evans was able to emphasize their depth and volume.

Proceeding from there, Alekhuogie has taken a copy of the catalogue and inserted his own striking image directly over the one by Evans. Both Alekhuogie and Walker Evans are representing the same subject : an upright female figure, identified in the MoMA caption as African, Mali, Bamana peoples.

Alekhuogie’s figure corresponds closely in scale and character with Evans’s image – but is now recreated on a rudimentary armature, with copies of Evans’s photograph pasted on to its four sides. He has photographed his own Female figure against a checkered backdrop of a traditional African textile. Alekhuogie has upended the conventional aesthetic of the museum catalogue, giving his subject a presence and context that is powerful and personal. 

Alekhuogie received his MFA from Yale University and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, New York and The High Museum, Atlanta.