Oklahoma Contemporary is excited to work with Oklahoma native and Brooklyn resident Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on 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.
Oklahoma is Black will be a depiction and celebration of Oklahoma City’s rich black history, highlighting the black lives that have made and continue to make this city. 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. 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.
The paintings, wheatpasted large-scale drawings and video interviews will be on view at Oklahoma Contemporary from Feb. 22 to May 19. Fazlalizadeh says, “In these interviews and final artworks, we will see the faces and voices of a people navigating deep-rooted racist environments while also creating beauty and culture in their daily lives."
Oklahoma is Black will be the final exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary’s fairgrounds location. The new campus at NW 11th and Broadway will open in the fall of 2019.