Oklahoma native and Brooklyn resident Tatyana Fazlalizadeh heralds her first major exhibition in her home state: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Oklahoma is Black. Fazlalizadeh has achieved international recognition for her artwork of portraits and words that that give voices to people and communities that are often marginalized, including women, people of color and the LGBTQ community.
For this project, Fazlalizadeh interviewed black residents of Oklahoma City's Northeast side, where she grew up, about their experiences living with daily oppressions based on their identities, particularly racism and sexism. A videographer documented the interviews. Fazlalizadeh then created portraits, painted in oil or drawn on paper, and combined these portraits with quotes from the interviews.
Oklahoma is Black will be a depiction and celebration of Oklahoma City’s incredible Black community and rich Black history. The exhibition name references Fazlalizadeh’s America is Black, a series of images she says “reflect the voices of marginalized groups who are challenging the acceptance of bigotry and white supremacy.” Large-scale wheatpaste portraits and statements were installed in cities across the country, including on Oklahoma City’s 23rd Street in 2016.
As Oklahoma City celebrates the 60th anniversary of Clara Luper’s sit-in with students at Katz Drug Store, Oklahoma is Black offers an opportunity to consider the challenges still facing people of color in Oklahoma and across the country.
Oklahoma is Black will be the final exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary’s fairgrounds location.
Gallery talks + other happenings detailed here.