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Todd Drake


North Carolina, USA

Birth year

Lives in
North Carolina

Works in
New York, Bahrain, West Bank, North Carolina


UNC Chapel Hill, 1984, BA Biology
UNC Greensboro, 1990, MFA Painting

photography, rockefeller fellow, human rights photography, community, art activism


Todd Drake creates art that addresses human rights issues among marginalized communities.Working collaboratively with community members, Drake creates images that are both specific and universal and reveal his concern for the most basic of human rights - to be considered fully human. 

Recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, numerous Fulbright-Hayes and Department of Education Grants, Drake has exhibited across the United States and internationally including exhibitions in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in college venues including Rhode Island School of Design, New York University, in museums such as the Heart Mountain Interpretative Center (site of Japanese American Internment during WWII), Mathers Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art ( SECCA.) 

Working in a wide variety of media with a focus on photography and installation, Drake’s interest in activism, teaching, and visual based research has led him to create exhibitions that blur the lines between art making, curating, and teaching. 

He has worked collaboratively with communities including Muslim Americans, undocumented immigrants, and Palestinians. Drake’s  work documenting  through collaborative portraits  the lives of  Muslim Americans came to the attention of a United Nations and resulted in his invitation to travel as a visiting artist for the US State Department.  In 2011, Drake traveled  to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to conduct workshops and exhibit work from his Esse Quam Videri - Muslim Self Portrait Project. This ongoing project is supported by the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina.

Drake has just returned from working in Palestine where he traveled and held workshops across the West Bank and Jerusalem, culminating in an exhibition at The International Academy of Art -Palestine, in Ramallah. 

Drake has worked extensively with the undocumented immigrantcommunities in the American south and those left behind in Mexico. An author and graphic designer for two books on the subject.  He has also created the exhibition  HELP: Hidden Work, Hidden Lives. This traveling exhibition draws connections over exploitative labor practices from  the era of slavery through Jim Crow to undocumented immigration. 

A graduate of the University of North Carolina with an MFA in painting from the University of North Carolina -Greensboro , Drake independently curates and teaches photography and visual based research practices. Drake has taught a wide range of students and  currently adjuncts part time at a historically black university. He serves on the board of hispanic mental health non-profit, La Vela Center, and is  also a member of the advisory committee for Greensboro’s Muslim Divan Center. 


Recent Exhibits

Todd Drake participated in these exhibits:

May, 2013 The Stories We Tell
International Academy of Contemporary Art-Palestine, Ramallah
Jun, 2012 Zone of Contention: The U.S./Mexico Border
Weatherspoon Art Museum
May, 2011 Unity through identity - Barhaini and Muslim American Self Portraits
Bahrain Arts Societ, Manama, Bahrain
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
curated with these artists
Todd Drake has curated with these artists:

Todd Drake and various US and Bahraini photographers
curated at these venues
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