Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2023

Azikiwe Mohammed

Azikiwe Mohammed stands sideways with his hands clasped in front of him looking directly into the camera. Behind him is a bed covered with a quilted cover and a mirrored headboard shaped like a pentagon. He wears a white button-down shirt and red hooded cloak.
Portrait courtesy of the artist.
  • 2023 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Crafter, Maker of The Stuffs
  • Born 1983, New York, NY
  • Lives in New York, NY
  • Additional Information

Artist Statement

I try to make work that deals with histories, objects, how those objects hold memories, and while doing so, make physical space for us to consider such. To feel such and be seen in the in-between spaces that exist for Blackness as it lives in our bodies, our stories, and our homes. I want to understand how to move forward through the world and make more objects that say yes to us as we hear no too often. Thru video, performance, sculpture, painted objects, and sound, I try to yes and where we have been and what if where we are going.

- December 2022


Azikiwe Mohammed is a crafter who builds physical spaces that include Blackness and the stories of the people of this land. Sometimes that land is physical, and other times it lives in our bodies. These attempts at land shapings come through sculpture, sound, photography, performance, video, and painted objects.

Shared Words, Split Catfish and Sweet Tea: An Open Platform for Discussion, Mohammed’s site-specific installation at Transformer, Washington, D.C. (2022), featured the Auntie / Uncle Julius family—wooden sculptural figures that are a reoccurring cast throughout his works—sharing a meal around a dinner table. Mohammed invited friends, family, and other interested parties to share audio recordings with stories about their days, dreams, and what they see taking place around them; local community members were also invited to contribute their own audio, which was later made available to stream via local FM radio. Exhibition programming included raffles hosted by Mohammed’s traveling food bank, The New Davonhaime Food Bank, named for a combination of five American cities with the highest Black-population densities: Birmingham, AL; Savannah, GA; New Orleans, LA; Detroit, MI; and Jackson, MS.

Mohammed’s solo exhibitions include 11439-39202, Yeh Art Gallery, St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY (2021); Blackest Night: A Survey in Blackness, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2019); and Jimmy’s Thrift of New Davonhaime, Knockdown Center, Maspeth, NY (2017), among others. His work has been in two-person and group exhibitions at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2022); Frac Normandie Caen, Caen, France (2022); Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA (2022); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR (2021); Fairmount Water Works, Philadelphia, PA (2021); John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2019); The Luminary, St. Louis, MO (2019); James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (2018); and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2017).

Mohammed is the recipient of a Rauschenberg Artists Fund grant (2021), a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2016), and an Art Matters Foundation Award (2015). In 2022, he was featured on Art21’s New York Close Up digital-film series on artists living and working in New York City.

Mohammed has a B.F.A. from Bard College.

Azikiwe Mohammed sits behind a desk, against a red wall. Behind him, to the right there is a record player and a neon sign hanging on the wall that reads “New Davonhaime ALE est. 1921.” Behind him to the left is a colorful painting of elephants.
Installation view of Jimmy’s Thrift at The Knockdown Center, Maspeth, NY, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.
A room-size installation featuring various lamps, a painting of a tiger, a large wall hanging, and other assorted objects. The walls are painted orange with black abstract lines. In the center of the room there is a painted two-toned blue table.
Installation view of Jimmy’s Thrift at The Knockdown Center, Maspeth, NY, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.
A framed painting of a tiger is hung on an orange wall painted with black abstract lines.
Detail of Jimmy’s Thrift at The Ace Hotel Chicago, Chicago, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist.
A neon table is lit up in the center of the room, illuminating a blue wall with a projection of a sunset and a bridge built directly onto the floor. The bridge leads to the next room, which has neon signs and various objects sitting on shelves affixed to the wall.
Installation view of Blackest Night: A Survey in Blackness at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA, 2019. Photo courtesy of the artist.
A painting of two wine glasses, three pieces of red/orange fruit, and an ash tray containing a still-smoking cigarette. The painting is mounted on a two-toned green wall.
Installation view of Forever Is Twice As Long From The Ground at Anna Zorina Gallery, New York, 2022. Photo courtesy of the artist.
An room-sized installation in a dimly-lit basement featuring a life-size sculpture of a person inside of a boat and multiple projectors scattering points of light and projections across the walls.
Installation view of Inside Views of Tomorrows Past at Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY, 2020. Photo courtesy of the artist.
An abstract painting with two rainbows, a brick pyramid, a violin, and assorted colorful shapes mounted on a purple and blue wall.
Detail of 36 Percent of Four Art Ensemble of Chicago Albums, 2022, Western Exhibitions, Chicago. Photo courtesy of the artist.