Awol Erizku: Ethiopian American Among New Generation of Fashion Photographers

​Awol Erizku. (photo by Jeff Vespa via

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Photographer Awol Erizku is one of 15 international artists featured in the upcoming U.S. exhibition titled The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

The show, which is set to open at Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York City next month, is based on a new book of the same name highlighting a new generation of artists who are redefining the way the African Diaspora is portrayed through photography. It “presents fifteen artists, whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that break down long-established boundaries,” the Aperture Foundation announced. “Their work has been widely consumed in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on their individual social-media channels, reinfusing the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance.”

Awol who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in New York City, is a graduate of The Cooper Union and Yale University. Last year Forbes Magazine featured Erizku on their list of up-and-coming young artists noting that “he produced one of his best-known pieces while he was an undergrad at Cooper-Union: “Girl With a Bamboo Earring,” a photo of his sister that recalls the classic portrait by Vermeer. Based in Los Angeles, he’s had solo shows in New York, London, Brussels, L.A. and Miami and his films and photos have screened at MoMA in New York.”

An article published in The Guardian this week previewing the upcoming show, recalls that “when Ethiopian-American photographer Awol Erizku shot Beyoncé displaying her pregnant belly in front of a wall of flowers in 2017, the set of Botticelli-like images were released solely on her Instagram account, circumventing traditional media altogether. The maternity announcement became the most liked image on the site that year.” In The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion Erizku describes his work as “trying to create a new vernacular, black art as universal.”

If you Go:

The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, Curated by Antwaun Sargent
October 24, 2019 – January 18, 2020. More info at

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