David O. Alekhuogie
First I am a political artist. I always have been. second my work comes from a deeply personal and emotional place. For the last few years my work has been about finding formal systems for investigating the emotional transitions of kinship. sometimes in the literal sense but more often radiating from shared experience, whether that be trauma, joy, mourning, struggle, will, or love. “I’ve been spending a lot of time with my direct family and friends that i grew up with now that i have moved back to Los Angeles where i was born and raised.” At family cookouts, holiday parties, old barber shops, I often find myself in situations where it is more comfortable to embrace the familiarity i have rather than take the opportunity to challenge the social political ideas in the space. My significant other recently asked me why i talked different around my friends i grew up with. It’s often not just about race it’s kinship. How do you talk about politics at the dinner table after the 2016 election where we transitioned from the ending of the first black president to a president elected under a merging of new types of data driven social, and digital economies.
My last exhibition “Them Boys” came out of thinking about comments made by Barack Obama about sanctions placed on the sagging of mens pants. Obama is a man i feel a certain kind of kinship too. He reminds me of my mentors in college, my uncles, my father, men that maybe wanted the best for us but betrayed us through policing, through disapproval, through a lack of understanding. The “us” that I’m talking about are the men who’s pants sag. Believe it or not, i feel a kinship to them as well, and my work is this dinner table political, uncomfortable, conversation that i’m articulating formally. I wanted to treat the silhouette of pants sagging as a landscape, an arena where people where expressing their agendas regardless of whether they wanted to do harm or not.