Onajide Shabaka, multimedia visual artist, curator, & writer
My interest in art began in high school with a photography course that eventually allowed me creative license to photograph what I wanted. That interest continued through various post-secondary institutions, including: Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA.), and California College of the Arts (Oakland, CA), culminating in a MFA awarded from Vermont College of the Fine Arts (Montpelier, VT), an institution focused on self-designed courses of study.
While living in San Francisco, California I started a fashion boutique where I designed for both men and women, importing cloth from various countries to find the right mix of natural and hand-woven fabrics. My longtime interest in ethnic textiles continues to inform my art practice.
In the past ten years, or more, my practice has included art writing and independent curatorial work, both of which are important aspects of my art practice. With a broad-based knowledge in contemporary art history, critical theory, as well as anthropology and ethnobotany, my art practice is focused on its continuing development and challenges, both inside and outside the white cubic exhibition space.
Conceptual, Time-based Photography
Shabaka, as photographic documenter and artist, often working in process with one, or possibly more persons, takes photographs not always to show what is in front of the camera, but what is behind the camera in the form of a conceptual approach. Even though trained as a photographer, Shabaka’s images document not a travelogue, but a quest. These quests often take the form of “walks” while gathering ephemeral bits of the landscape to photograph, be it botanical or geological. Hence, the still image documents a time-based process of movement and gathering. In the end, many of the gathered objects are intensely examined using macro photography which also moves the objects and materials into a different context. A context which orients the materials as precious even as they decay.
About me: http://about.me/onajideshabaka