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Ayana V. Jackson, American born photographer and film-maker

Paris Photo 2020 will move to a Left-Bank venue for the next few years because the Grand Palais will undergo extensive renovations and refurbishments for some years.

The 23rd edition of Paris Photo Fair in November 2019, featured many over-sized color prints, either of landscapes, or large portraits of mostly female photographers, like Ayana V. jackson and Madagascar-born Malala Andrialavidrazana.


19 Décembre 2019
     

Ayana V. Jackson's impressive photographic oeuvre was very visible at the recent edition of Paris Photo which attracted 70,598 visitors, including 100 museums and international institutions

Installation Gallery Mariane Ibrahim, Paris Photo 2019 © Photos Ayana V. Jackson and Gallery Mariane Ibrahim Chicago
Installation Gallery Mariane Ibrahim, Paris Photo 2019 © Photos Ayana V. Jackson and Gallery Mariane Ibrahim Chicago
Marianne Ibrahim Gallery of Chicago, one of ten stands to have solo shows - like that of Caroline Smulders with prints by Madagascar-born M. Andrialavidrazana - featured large prints of the artist’s recent work which fetched between $15,000,- and $22,000,- within the first two days. Jackson’s 2015 archival print of her self-portrait entitled Tignon (in reference to the 1790s law imposed upon women of African descent in Spanish controlled New Orleans to be appropriately dressed) was prominently displayed at the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, entitled Collective Identity.

Ayana Vellissia Jackson was born in 1977 in Livingston, New Jersey and raised in East Orange. Her grandmother, Angenetta Still Jackson, was a descendent of Leah Arthur Jones – a member of the founding family of New Jersey’s first Black Settlement, Lawnside. Her grandfather, J. Garfield Jackson, was Essex County’s first African American principal. She traveled to Ghana in 2001 to visit her family’s compound in North Odorkor where she produced her first photography series, Full Circle. A Survey of Hip-Hop in Ghana.
 

Tignon 2016, JP Chase Morgan Art Collection Identity, Paris Photo 2019 © Ayana V. Jackson and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago
Tignon 2016, JP Chase Morgan Art Collection Identity, Paris Photo 2019 © Ayana V. Jackson and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago

Further development

Jackson received her B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College in 1999. She stated that : « After having studied sociology, I understood that photography was more suited to expressing what I wanted to discuss by this discipline. I became aware that I should become a photographer ».

In 2005, at the invitation of Professor Khatarina Sieverding, she studied critical theory and large format printing at the University of Arts Berlin. Jackson’s photography honors the legacy of the African diaspora by addressing themes of memory and focusing on Contemporary Africa.

The photographer undertakes extensive research for her portraits, incorporating references from early photography including portraits of her own relatives. She is fully involved in planning these, and also photo-montages, often portraying herself in elaborate costumes. Jackson takes particular interest in 19th and early 20th century representation of black bodies.

Unfolding her story

The artist, based between Johannesburg, New York and Paris, was a laureate for the 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow for Photography, and the recipient of the 2018 National Black Arts Festival’s Fine Art and Fashion Award and has received numerous grants over the years. Jackson has also branched into film to illustrate connections between African legacy in Mexico, and will probably continue to co-produce videos or films in the future.

Ashraf Jamal, Cape-town based academic, art critic and cultural analyst remarked that Jackson’s work: “examines the complexities of photographic representation and the role of the camera in constructing identity. Using performance and studio-based portraiture, her practice can be seen as a map of the ethical considerations and relationships involved between the photographer, subject and viewer.”
 

Vernissage Paris Photo 2019, 6 November Grand Palais © Florent Drillon
Vernissage Paris Photo 2019, 6 November Grand Palais © Florent Drillon

Branching into film and video work

Jackson collaborated with writer and film-maker Marco Villalobos, to produce Rompiendo el Silencio, a 12 - minute film with Spanish/English sub-titles, part of their ongoing work in sound vision. The film combines first-person narrative with images captured by Jackson and Villalobos on Super 8. Sound art composed by Marco Villalobos is mixed with interviews made during their 20O3 and 2005 trips to Mexico during their investigation preparing the exhibition “African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth.”

The extraordinary photographic work of Jackson and the powerful narrative of Villalobos in this show brings inspired insight in addressing the role of racial and cultural citizenship impacting the lives of African descendants in Mexico and indeed, throughout the Americas. Jackson’s photographic work will surely continue in other parts of the world connected to the African diaspora.
 

Gallery Paris Photo 2019

Malala Andrialavidrazana Figures 1886, Voyage Autour du Monde, 2018, 110x58cm © M. Andrialavidrazana / Galerie Caroline Smulders
Malala Andrialavidrazana Figures 1886, Voyage Autour du Monde, 2018, 110x58cm © M. Andrialavidrazana / Galerie Caroline Smulders

Vernissage Paris Photo 2019, 6 November Grand Palais © Florent Drillon
Vernissage Paris Photo 2019, 6 November Grand Palais © Florent Drillon

Kunang Helmi-Picard
Free lance journalism (Indonesia, for The Jakarta Post, Dewi and other Indonesian publications,... En savoir plus sur cet auteur




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