Queensborough Art and Design Department Visiting Artist Series Presents:
Artist Azikiwe Mohammed
October 13, 2015, Art and Design C-Building Room 212
Azikiwe Mohammed was a breath of fresh air coming off the Q27 last Tuesday evening. Slightly encumbered with rucksack and digital camera he offered a swift apology for his delay and chattered amiably about his day. He had arrived at QCC by the invite of Professor Freya Powell to discuss his work with students; by all accounts he was completely charming.
With unassuming candor Azikiwe related his desire to bring past iconic images of African-Americans into a contemporary context. Over-sized watercolors featured a Great White headed for chicken wings and a cherry tart, Malcolm X (formerly known as Detroit Red) and Red Fox on the front porch, Sanford’s pick-up and attendants at James Baldwin’s plot in a Parisian cemetery. Rappers collaged with cheesy Internet imagery on tapestries make up his more recent work. The work references the tradition of mythical beings on Middle Age tapestries; rap stars are made mythical through the Internet but Azikiwe urges us to understand them as real people. Students were pleasantly surprised to hear Azikiwe point out “flaws” in his painting and his dislike for some of his work, how it didn’t matter if it didn’t look exactly like it was, it worked. It is important to just keep doing. The young artists were quick to get on board with that.