Ayana V. Jackson (b. 1977 East Orange, NJ; based in Brooklyn, NY) uses archival impulses to assess the impact of the colonial gaze on the history of photography and its relationship to the human body. By using her lense to deconstruct 19th and early 20th century portraiture, Jackson questions photography’s authenticity and role in perpetuating socially relevant and stratified identities.
Her practice maps the ethical considerations and relationships between the photographer, subject and viewer, in turn exploring themes around race, gender and reproduction. Her work examines myths of the Black Diaspora and re-stages colonial archival images as a means to liberate the Black body.
Her work is collected by major local and international institutions including The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Newark Museum, The JP Chase Morgan collection, Princeton University Art Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jackson was a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow for Photography, and the recipient of the 2018 Smithsonian Fellowship.