The Ethiopian-born artist debuts a series of 13 personal photographs—commissioned by Public Art Fund and on display at 350 JCDecaux bus shelters in New York and Chicago—that plants the seed for future conversations with his newborn daughter, Iris, about today’s most weighty and gripping topics. A group of still lifes, created inside Erizku’s studio during the past year, incorporate objects like African masks, Egyptian motifs, Islamic religious texts, and everyday items like candles and flowers; other images include portraits and depictions of birds that challenge the Western canon while commenting on advertising culture.
“My image-making process is a reflection of how I encounter the world,” says Erizku, who’s noted for photographs, paintings, and sculptures that unite colorful, attention-grabbing compositions with meditative underpinnings. “It allows me to explore alternate possibilities and novel ways of engaging with the world around me. As a father, I think about how to raise a daughter in this world and explain cultural parameters and gray areas; I want my daughter Iris to grow up with these images so they’re the norm for her. I want to reflect a less fixed, rigid, institutional understanding of the spaces we occupy.”