Profile :Awol Erizku

Awol Erizku is an Ethiopian-born American artist known for his staged portraits of African Americans and appropriation-based practice. Reminiscent of both David Hammons and Richard Prince, Erizku’s sculptural installations and photography meld canonical Western artworks with assemblages lifted from African culture, gang markings, and vernacular objects. “I treat my Instagram account like a gallery—I keep it private and then from 9 to 5, Monday or Tuesday through Friday, like gallery hours, that’s when it’s public,” he said of his approach to creating art. “It’s in line with what I do anyways, which is kind of like using readymades in the 21st century.” Born in 1988 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he grew up in the Bronx neighborhood of New York before attending Cooper Union where he graduated in 2010. Receiving his MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2014, the artist had his first solo exhibition the same year “The Only Was is Up” at Hasted Kaeutler gallery in New York. In 2017, it was discovered that Erizku was behind the famous photographs released on Instagram of Beyoncé, first several months pregnant and later posed with her twin infant sons. The artist currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.



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