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LaToya Ruby Frazier Advocates For Human Rights In Her Artwork

Posted by on February 1, 2018 | Photographer Interviews

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s art practice is a form of activism. In a new body of work currently on view at Gavin Brown Enterprises in Harlem — her largest exhibition in New York to date — Frazier advocates for those otherwise without a voice using photography, video, and text.

“When I encounter an individual or family facing inequality I create visibility through images and story-telling to expose the violation of their human rights,” she said in a statement.

The exhibition consists of three separate series. The first, Flint is Family (2016-17), explores the devastating effects of water contamination in Flint, Michigan, on three generations of women — the poet and singer, Shea Cobb, Shea’s mother, Renée Cobb, and her daughter, Zion.

Notions of Family, an ongoing series Frazier began in 2001, also explores the physical and psychological effects of racism and economic neglect on generations of women — only in this case, the women are herself, her mother, and her grandmother, who all grew up in the formerly booming industrial town of Braddock, Pennsylvania.

The final series is A Pilgrimage to Noah Purifoy’s Desert Art Museum (2016-17), a body of work that explores the legacy of Noah Purifoy, a black artist who created assemblages from, among other materials, the burned materials left over from the Watts riots in the 1960s.

The exhibition of Frazier’s work is open through February 25, 2018, and includes a series of talks and programs. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.

Below are a selection of images from all three series showcased at the exhibition. All images courtesy the Artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York / Rome. Photography by Thomas Müller.

Shea with her mother, daughter, aunts and cousins; (left to right; Marcell, Kristina, Lynda, Denise, Andrea, Nephratiti, Keona, Zion, Renee, Shea) at the wedding reception outside the Social Network Banquet Hall 2016 / 2017 Gelatin silver print

Students and Residents outside Northwestern High School (est. 1964) awaiting the arrival of President Barack Obama, May 4th 2016, I 2016 / 2017 Gelatin silver print

Shea brushing Zion’s teeth with bottled water in her bathroom 2016 / 2017 Gelatin silver print

Grandma Ruby’s Refrigerator 2007 Gelatin silver print

Grandma Ruby, Me, J.C. and Mom in Mom’s Bedroom 2008 Gelatin silver print

Self-Portrait at 40 Holland Avenue 2007 Gelatin silver print

Pat Brunty, the caretaker standing behind No Contest 1994, Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, Joshua Tree, CA 2016 / 2017 Gelatin silver print

Voting Booth and Adrian’s Little Theater 2000, Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, Joshua Tree, CA 2016 / 2017 Gelatin silver print