Juxtapoz Magazine – Black Chrysalis: The Works of Rakeem Cunningham



Schlomer Haus Gallery is happy to current Black Chrysalis, a solo exhibition from Los Angeles-based multimedia artist and photographer Rakeem Cunningham. The gathering was created throughout a interval when Cunningham started to prioritize pleasure and pleasure within the studio, representing an vital shift in outlook from the artist.

Usually bullied at school – whether or not or not it’s for his “nerdy” tendencies, his curiosity in manga and anime, his identification as a queer black man, or his OCD – Cunningham reclaims possession of his journey, his psychological well being, and happiness within the studio, which has advanced over time right into a secure house for therapeutic and play. Cunningham proudly recollects some knowledge his sister shared throughout this wrestle, “Your shallowness is the esteem of your motherfuckin’ self, so how are you going to let another person decide that.” Cunningham likens this period of progress to the second when a chrysalis darkens in shade, simply earlier than the butterfly is able to emerge.

Black Chrysalis options new visions of time, physique, and house, within the type of six distinctive collages that start with Cunningham’s complicated layering of his personal images. Traditionally, a photographer would choose a picture to print from a contact sheet of all the photographs on one roll of movie, submitting the unselected photographs into their archive. Unlocking the final decade of his unselected picture archive, Cunningham discovered freedom in stitching collectively fantastical areas for his youthful selves to play.

With all of his earlier works liberated from digital archives and timelines, Cunningham realized he wished to push the boundaries of images even additional by incorporating his drawings. Cunningham’s drawings function repetitive mark making and daring shade blocking that provide perception into his every day emotional landscapes. “I noticed that I might visualize my intrusive ideas with shade and repeating shapes, which helps me launch anxiousness. I can settle for and handle a drawing of purple zig zags, as an alternative of pretending the sentiments I affiliate them with don’t exist. I’m celebrating myself in all my complicated glory.”

Stuffed with intricate patterns and laden with that means, every layered factor in Cunningham’s collages work to inform a narrative. From the classroom-style wavy rainbow borders – a recurring image of childhood that reminds Cunningham to steadiness creating secure areas with broadening his horizons – to the spirals that are a bodily illustration of destructive intrusive ideas, the ensuing work embraces the highs and lows of life.

Black Chrysalis is evocative and relatable, bringing Cunningham’s expertise to a various viewers, offering consolation and companionship to viewers. “One of many targets of this physique of labor is to have a good time the braveness it takes to be open to alter – to not be afraid to fail, develop into your genuine self, to take dangers!” stated Cunningham. “For me you will need to really feel proud to take up house and to share that pleasure and acceptance with others. Butterflies don’t cover their wings and neither ought to we.”


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