Kambui Olujimi

The music of community

United States

“materials that are ubiquitous but often invisible”

Not one to be tethered to any one format, Brooklyn’s Kambui Olujimi works in mediums including video, photography, sculpture, performance and installation. Inspired by community leaders and activists in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he was born and still lives, his work often addresses community and the threats to it in the form of social and state-sponsored oppression, always with a poetic touch.

Music is a steady presence in the artist’s videos. In In Plain Sight, black dancers groove to the Star Spangled Banner; in Finding and Forgetting, the artist danced for twelve hours on a shaped platform in the gallery with a number of partners who came and went, to music ranging from Jay-Z to Nina Simone (whose music appears in several of his videos). Grit and glamour meet in sculptures in which various forms of jewelry dangle from handcuffs, symbolic of the way that humans are imprisoned by their possessions, or referring to the way that human life itself is commodified.

Olujimi’s work appears In the collection of the Brooklyn Museum and California’s Orange County Museum of Art; he has mounted solo exhibitions at venues including the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Massachusetts and New York’s CUE Arts Foundation. Institutions such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem have included him in group exhibitions, as have the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and others internationally. Olujimi earned an MFA at Columbia University, in New York, after studying at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and earning a BFA from Parsons School of Design, in New York, and attending Bard College.