Zalika Azim “in case you should forget to sweep before sunset”

Baxter Street/ the Camera Club of NY

poster for Zalika Azim “in case you should forget to sweep before sunset”
[Image: Zalika Azim "Until these calamities be overpast" (2018)]

This event has ended.

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York presents in case you should forget to sweep before sunset by 2018 Workspace Resident Zalika Azim. Featuring multiple lens-based works as well a new photographic installation, the forthcoming exhibition explores notions of home, memory, migration, and remigration.

Referring to southern lore, the title in particular, pulls from a common superstition which suggests that “the home should not be swept past sunset.” For believers, doing so puts one at risk of sweeping away the spirits of ancestors who may provide protection to the family home. In case you should forget to sweep before sunset is not only an engagement with ancestral knowledges and southern sensibilities, but is also a play on expectations of time, space, and narration.

Drawing from instances recalled through shared family memories, alongside historical events and speculation, Azim unravels and reworks the photograph to construct overlapping, non-linear narratives that foreground the many ways in which fact and fiction collide. Through these layered works, Azim presents the viewer with landscapes that collectively act as repositories, projecting multiple occurrences simultaneously.

Incorporating found photographs taken and collected by her late grandmother Mary E. Lemons between the 1930s and 2000s, the artist asks critical questions about the historical impact of photography on African American life: How do modes of disruption and code function as markers of protection, specifically with regard to locating safe spaces and notions of home? How do the politics of repetition shed light on migration and ritual?

Looking at the habitual activities and superstitious beliefs that are rooted throughout the larger black community, Azim’s work engages in a vulnerable act of introspection. The repeated use of multicolored patterns and wallpaper reflected in Azim’s work pulls directly from communal folklore. These works reference the historic functions and symbolism of wallpaper and quilting in black communities, which ranged from spiritual protection to directional guides along the black belt. As seen in Totem (these many things are discussed over and over), 2019, Azim treats wallpaper as a talisman, pairing it with double exposed images taken by her grandmother in an effort to make sense of the American landscape that her ancestors navigated. Through these totemic juxtapositions, Azim sets out to challenge traditional encounters and interpretations of the photograph, while seeking new entry points into the ongoing investigation of personal narrative and collective memory.



from March 06, 2019 to April 13, 2019
Coffee Talks: Saturday, March 16 and Thursday, March 21 | 11am, Saturday, April 6 | 4:30pm.

Opening Reception on 2019-03-12 from 18:00 to 20:00


Zalika Azim

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