Ajamu X

New Season 17!!! For the first episode of our NEW SEASON we meet the legendary photographer and activisit AJAMU X, at his studio on Railton Road, South London.

Ajamu X (1963, Huddersfield, UK) is a photographic artist, scholar, archive curator and radical sex activist best known for his imagery that challenges dominant ideas around black masculinity, gender, sexuality, and representation of black LGBTQ people in the United Kingdom.

He is the co-founder of rukus! Federation and the rukus! Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer + Archive and one of a few leading specialists on Black British LGBTQ+ history, heritage, and cultural memory in the UK. In 1997, Ajamu was the Autograph x Lightwork artist-in-residence in Syracuse, USA developing a series of self-portraits during his residency. He studied at the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, The Netherlands, and is currently an PhD candidate at Royal College of Art, London. In 2022 Ajamu was canonised by The Trans Pennine Traveling Sisters as The Patron Saint of Darkrooms in his hometown Huddersfield and he received an honorary fellowship from the Royal photographic society.

Ajamu’s works have been shown in exhibitions in museums, galleries, and alternatives spaces across globally since the 1990s, his recent solo exhibitions include Archival Senoria at Cubitt Gallery, 2021. As well as included in several thematic group Very Private? at Charleston House, 2022; Fashioning Masculinities, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2022; Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, 2019; Get Up, Stand Up Now, Somerset House, 2019; On our Backs: The Revolution Art of Queer Sex Work, Leslie Lohman Museum, 2019. Ajamu’s works are held in collections including Tate, London; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Autograph, London; Neuberger Museum of Art, New York amongst others. His second monograph AJAMU: ARCHIVE was published in 2021.

Ajamu X: The theoretical provocations, politics, and aesthetic qualities of my work unapologetically celebrate black queer bodies, the erotic, sex. pleasure and play. The work also poses the imagination/fiction in opposition to the constant framing of our complex and nuanced experiences from with a sociological framework, which constitutes a paradigm based on deficit. As a fine art studio-based and darkroom led photographer working with both digital/large format cameras and early analogue printing processes, my practice privileges process over outcome. The tangible/tactile sensuous elements of fine art photography are essential to my visual-photographic philosophy.In tandem with this, the work explores the ‘thingness; of the photographic print as well as the sensual, material attributes of both print and image, without allowing the usual flattening -out of the photographic image to simple notions of representation to enter the frame.

Follow @AjamuStudios and visit his major solo exhibition in London: https://autograph.org.uk/exhibitions/ajamu-the-patron-saint-of-darkrooms

Ajamu: The Patron Saint of Darkrooms runs until Saturday 2nd September 2023, Free entry! @AutographABP Gallery address: Autograph, Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA, UK

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