Awol Erizku


In his debut solo museum exhibition, Awol Erizku focuses on pioneering American Muslim human rights activist El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) as a subject of personal inspiration and complex cultural significance. Erizku views the historic figure as a metaphorical prism of faith, masculinity, transformation, and a vessel for truth. This ambitious exhibition is composed of new and recent works by Erizku, including iconic photographs, sculptures, works on paper, a powerful film, and an installation of a rare historic manuscript. Together, they collectively convey the artist’s multidisciplinary practice and dynamic approach to a diverse range of media. Presented in the SCAD Museum of Art’s Walter and Linda Evans Center for African American Studies, the exhibition critiques the Eurocentric canon of art and history, with Malcolm X serving as a key figure connecting the U.S. and Africa. Erizku posits his singular aesthetic as a means to link ancient mythology, diasporic tradition, and contemporary culture as an antidote to closed-mindedness — striving toward Malcolm X’s late-life universalism and dedication to the “overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood.”

signature image for Awol Erizku exhibition
Awol Erizku, "Brick by Brick (Detroit Red)," 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.

About the artist

Conceptual artist Awol Erizku (b. 1988, Ethiopia; lives and works in Los Angeles) attended New York City’s Cooper Union before receiving his M.F.A. from Yale University. He has presented solo exhibitions with the Public Art Fund, New York, and The FLAG Art Foundation, New York. His work has been exhibited at prominent venues including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark.; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto; and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, among others. His work is held in the permanent collection of many institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Fla.; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Calif.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He recently published Awol Erizku: Mystic Parallax, the first comprehensive monograph of his career to date.

Install Views

Programs and events


X is organized by SCAD Museum of Art chief curator Daniel S. Palmer and presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2024.

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