If Instagram likes were dollars, Awol Erizku would be absolutely minted. Unfortunately, they’re not, so he’s just a poor young artist like all the others – albeit a poor young artist who happened to take the most liked Instagram photo in history. Beyoncé announced her recent pregnancy with an image of herself draped in a veil, kneeling before a mound of flowers, staring defiantly, proudly and fiercely at the camera – a heavenly, Edenic scene of beauty and strength. Well, it’s better than posting a picture of your still damp Boots home pregnancy test, isn’t it? It was Awol Erizku who took that picture. And now, he’s got a show opening in London.
But there’s nothing heavenly or Edenic about the series of work he’s showing at Ben Brown Fine Arts next week – ‘Make America Great Again’ is about something he sees as a lot more hellish: the current state of US politics. It’s a powerfully, clearly and proudly political show. Black Panther symbols stalk across the stars and stripes, hunt through and beds of roses, sheets of iron are daubed with gang signs, Egyptian busts stand firm and colourful – subtle it ain’t, but angry it is.
In an interview with the New York Times, Erizku said ‘I’m putting it out there because I’m black and I’m Muslim and this is everything Trump has tried to stand against.’ Look, even I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about, and I’m dead inside. See you there.
Awol Erizku at Ben Brown Fine Arts opens on April 21. Find more art to see here.