BravinLee programs is pleased to present new works by Mequitta Ahuja. "Automythography I" is the artist's second solo show at the gallery.
Mequitta Ahuja refers to her ongoing project as Automythography. A variation of author Audre Lorde's coined term, Automythography combines history, myth and personal narrative. She uses two central pictorial devices, inversion of the head and exaggeration of the hair. With a concentration on mark, the artist depicts Black hair as an embodiment of drawing, equating drawn texture to hair texture. In response to the history of Black hair as a barometer of social and personal consciousness, she makes the image of hair both physical and conceptual, giving it the psychic proportions hair has in the lives of Black people. She inverts the head. Through this disorientation, she signals a shift away from traditional portraiture and into the "auto-mythic." This move allows for a profusion of representational types from concrete realism to abstract form and thought. The flow from the head becomes a flow from the mind: a vehicle of infinite possibility. Using herself as the subject, Ahuja's works are a deployment of the tools of self-invention and self-representation.
Holland Cotter, art critic of the New York Times, noted this phenomenon in Ahuja's work in his review of the artist's debut exhibition at BravinLee programs: "Referring to the artist's African-American and East Indian background, the pictures turn marginality into a regal condition."
Mequitta Ahuja's work was featured in Houston Collects: African American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and in Flowback at the Lawndale Art Center, TX, both in 2008. Ahuja's work was included in Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007. Her works are in notable collections including the Ulrich Museum in Wichita KS, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The U.S. State Department, Mumbai, India and The Cleveland Children's Clinic. In 2008 Ahuja was awarded a Houston Artadia Prize as well as the 2008 inaugural award of the Meredith and Cornelia Long Prize.