GROUND LEVEL, COLES COURT ADJOINING GALLERY 1
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BORN 1977
BASED BETWEEN NEW YORK, JOHANNESBURG AND PARIS
Ayana V. Jackson’s photographs use self-portraits and performance to create images that have an overtly political purpose to discuss issues of race, colonisation and gender. She explores the complex relationship between black American women and photography as it originated in the nineteenth century, and the intertwining with colonial histories that saw the imposition of an ethnographic, racial and sexual gaze upon their bodies. Describing her work, Jackson said: ‘The history of photography is complicit in racial stereotypes, it has asserted strange and wrong views of black women. I’m interested in colonial black female stereotyping, and how photography has leveraged these tropes.’ In three works from the Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment series 2017, the artist is photographed mid-flight with her body twisting and turning in air as the fabrics of her clothes flow around her seemingly suspended in space. These images act as a physical and metaphorical freeing of the body from what Jackson sees as the ‘weight of gravity’ of history.
Ayana V. Jackson was born in America in 1977. After studying sociology at Spelman College, Atlanta between 1995 and 1999, she graduated from The Universität der Künste, Berlin in 2005. She has been exhibiting photography in both solo and group exhibitions within America and internationally since 2004. In 2014 she was awarded the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship for Photography; in 2017 the National Black Arts Festival’s (NBAF) Visual Arts Award; and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2018. Jackson is currently based between New York, Johannesburg and Paris.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporters Wendy & Paul Bonnici & Family and Trawalla Foundation, as well as Triennial Circle donors Nadia Breuer Sopher & Ed Breuer, Douglas Baxter & Brian Hastings and the NGV American Friends for their support.