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ALLAN deSOUZA

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Pressure, 2010-11  Color photograph  12″ x 16″  From the series “The World Series” (2010-2011)

Frequently hovering between figuration and abstraction, subjectivity and neutrality, the real and the fictional, deSouza’s works excavate historical, cultural, and ideological constructs, examining the relationship between narratives of collective identity, individual experience and art history.

Throughout his career, deSouza has engaged with historical events, works of literature, and cultural figures, which provoke a reexamination of seemingly central cultural values, often embraced by his sharp sense of wit. deSouza has also explored, poetically, his personal but universal notions of time, aging and death and how memory and photography are both formed and transformed over time, and at times allowing even the coexisting of our past and present.

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Allan deSouza’s works have been exhibited extensively including at The Pompidou Centre, Paris; Museum Kunst Palast, Germany; Moderna Museet, Sweden; Mori Art Museum, Japan; Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa; Hayward Gallery, UK; International Center of Photography, NY; Stedelijk Museum, The Netherlands; Museo Tamayo, Mexico; Memphis Brooks Museum, TN;  Museum for African Art, NY; Smithsonian Museum, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; 3rd Guangzhou Triennale, China; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF; Fowler Museum, LA; Blaffer Art Museum, TX; and Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL. In 2011, on an invitation by The Phillip’s Collection, deSouza created The World Series in response to Lawrence’s Migration Series, and his work was subsequently featured in a solo exhibition at the museum along with Lawrence’s works.

deSouza was born in 1958 in Nairobi, Kenya to immigrant parents of Indian descent and grew up in the United Kingdom. In 1983, he graduated from the Bath Academy of Fine Art, England with a BA in Fine Art (Honors). From 1993-1994 he pursued Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Studies Program in New York, USA. He obtained his MFA in Photography from UCLA, California, USA in 1997.

He lives and works in the Bay Area, California, where he is Chair of the Department of Art Practice at University of California, Berkeley. His recent publications include “How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change” (2018) and “Ark of Martyrs” (2020).

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

A blurring of the world, a refocusing seconds, minutes, hours, days, maybe years later, with everything put together differently, in ways he doesn't understand, 2001

C Print on Aluminum

21" x 47"

Future, 2010-2011

C-Print on Aluminum

12" x 16"

UFO1, 2007

C Print

60" x 18"

Fountain, 2004

C Print

60" x 40"

CAR, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

Navigation Chart, 2016

Digital print on Hahnemuhle paper

24" x 36"

BEACH, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

LECHKO, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

Crossing, 2010-2011

C Print

12" x 16"

Aquarius (trpclfrstwthmnkys), 2010

C Print

55" x 40"

Chinaberry (jdth), 2010

Digital C-Print

55" x 40"

Divine1881, 2007

C Print

15 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Divine2894, 2007

C Print

15 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Divine5884, 2007

C Print

19 3/4" x 29 3/4"

everything west of here is indian country, 2003

C Print on Aluminum

20" x 50"

he gazed into the liquid darkness in which desires drowned, from where the body's delicious pains emerged, 2001

C Print on Aluminum

19 1/2" x 39"

shadows cross Madinat al-Salam, 2003

C Print on Aluminum

20" x 50"

ORD 024, 1997-1998

Photograph

3" x 4"

Picasso, 2010

C Print

16" x 12"

A blurring of the world, a refocusing seconds, minutes, hours, days, maybe years later, with everything put together differently, in ways he doesn't understand, 2001

C Print on Aluminum

21" x 47"

Future, 2010-2011

C-Print on Aluminum

12" x 16"

UFO1, 2007

C Print

60" x 18"

Fountain, 2004

C Print

60" x 40"

CAR, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

Navigation Chart, 2016

Digital print on Hahnemuhle paper

24" x 36"

BEACH, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

LECHKO, 2004

C Print

40" x 60"

Crossing, 2010-2011

C Print

12" x 16"

Aquarius (trpclfrstwthmnkys), 2010

C Print

55" x 40"

Chinaberry (jdth), 2010

Digital C-Print

55" x 40"

Divine1881, 2007

C Print

15 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Divine2894, 2007

C Print

15 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Divine5884, 2007

C Print

19 3/4" x 29 3/4"

everything west of here is indian country, 2003

C Print on Aluminum

20" x 50"

he gazed into the liquid darkness in which desires drowned, from where the body's delicious pains emerged, 2001

C Print on Aluminum

19 1/2" x 39"

shadows cross Madinat al-Salam, 2003

C Print on Aluminum

20" x 50"

ORD 024, 1997-1998

Photograph

3" x 4"

Picasso, 2010

C Print

16" x 12"

The News-Gazette
The News-Gazette
Inside Out | Memories at a distance: Allan deSouza September 12, 2021

I’ve long turned to works of art as a way to process current events and wrestle with problems — both political and personal.

One of the most significant functions of a museum, after all, is to make space for works of art to console, inspire and prod us to think in new ways about the here and now.

Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies
Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies
Allan deSouza + Gayatri Gopinath | Crisis and Creativity: Artists Speak Series October 8, 2020

The South Asia Art Initiative at UC Berkeley is delighted to launch Crisis and Creativity: Artists Speak Series, a new speaker series that addresses provocative and generative intersections between creative processes and societal, cultural, and environmental crises. The first event in Crisis and Creativity: Artists Speak Series features a conversation between photographer, multi-media artist, and Professor of Art Practice at UC Berkeley, Allan deSouza and Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and the director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University, Gayatri Gopinath .

Panel Discussion with Allan deSouza, Schwanda Rountree, Melanee Harvey, & Mel & Juanita Hardy
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, US

Hyperallergic
Hyperallergic
A Philosophical and Practical Handbook on the Development of Artistic Ideas: Allan deSouza May 14, 2019

Allan DeSouza's book is both a reflective investigation exploring how artistic meaning takes shape and a functional handbook that clarifies terms often used in the art world without much lucidity.

Allan deSouza’s Through the Black Country, or, The Sources of the Thames Around the Great Shires of Lower England and Down the Severn River to the Atlantic Ocean reenacts and upends iconic colonial narratives of discovery in Africa. 

Light in Wartime brings together photographers whose works shed new light on war, both forensically and symbolically.  In a world so hounded by images of war, many of the photographers featured in Light in Wartime challenge the conventions and limitations of traditional reportage, underlining the tensions between art, fiction, and photojournalism.
 

DeSouza’s most recent work reenacts and upends iconic colonial narratives of discovery in Africa. 

The News Gazette
The News Gazette
New KAM show flips colonial script with Africans exploring England January 25, 2018

Allan deSouza is chair of the department of Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley, and the artist behind a fascinating new world map that premieres today at the Krannert Art Museum.

Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora, organized by Asia Society Museum with the support of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, considers the work of nineteen contemporary artists from the South Asian diaspora who explore notions of home and issues relating to migration, gender, race, and memory across mediums and aesthetics

4Columns
4Columns
Allan deSouza and Alia Syed March 17, 2017

Immigrant, exile, refugee, traveler, stranger: these are the figures that define our time. They are alternately the fantasy and the nightmare of globalization—neoliberalism dreams of a “flat earth,” a world system where laboring bodies travel across borders as easily as capital, while populism fears those same bodies as dangerous, even deadly, parasitical drains on local economies and civil society. 

Allan deSouza, chair of UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice, presents an exhibition that reenacts and upends the traditional colonial relationship, positioning modern-day England as the object of investigation by an explorer from Africa.

Time / Image explores the interrelationship of time and thought in contemporary art. The exhibition borrows its title and, loosely, its philosophical framework from French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995).

The Phillips Collection celebrates the fifth anniversary of Intersections, which since 2009 has presented the work of 22 artists—9 men and 13 women—from the US and abroad. This exhibition presents works by Intersections artists that have been acquired to date, both pieces that were featured in past installations and new works that are reminiscent or emblematic of the projects. Most importantly, the anniversary exhibition is a celebration of the Phillips’s mission to actively collect and display contemporary art.

The New York Times
The New York Times
Allan deSouza: Notes from Afar April 30, 2015

In 2011, the Phillips Collection in Washington commissioned Allan deSouza to create a photographic response to Jacob Lawrence’s 60-painting “Migration Series” (1940-41), half of which is owned by the Phillips, the other half by the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Allan deSouza: Close Quarters and Far Pavilions October 1, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Allan deSouza’s new video and photographic installation, Close Quarters and Far Pavilions, consists of a four-channel video work of multiple sequences shot from inside commercial flights at the time of take-offs and landings. The title, influenced by M.M. Kaye’s 1978 novel about conflicting identities and split loyalties set in India and Afghanistan, suggests the aircrafts’ cramped spaces and the hand-to-hand combat of “close quarters,” as well as the exotic allure of faraway places.

Artforum
Artforum
Critic's Pick: Allan deSouza August 2011

Allan deSouza’s current exhibition at the Phillips Collection, produced through an initiative to encourage interaction between contemporary artists and the institution’s holdings, displays photographs conceived as a reaction to Lawrence’s canonical series. 

The World Series (2010–11) features a group of 30 color photographs by Allan deSouza created in response to Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series (1940–41), from The Phillips Collection. 

‎‎Dreamlands‎‎ ‎‎develops a new purpose: to show how international fairs, world exhibitions and leisure parks have been able to constitute models that have influenced the design of the city and its uses. Indeed, if such models have shaped the imagination, nourished utopias as well as the creations of artists, they have also become realities, in which real-life comes to be inscribed, modifying our relationship to the world and geography, to time and history, to the notions of original and copy, of art and non-art.‎

Third Guangzhou Triennial
Third Guangzhou Triennial
Allan deSouza September 6 - November 16, 2008

Third Triennial opens at Guangdong Museum of Art and its satellite museum, Time Museum, consisting of 181 artists from over 40 countries. The curators GAO Shiming, Sarat MAHARAJ and Johnson CHANG Tsong-zung brought together artists that examine the limits of multi-culturalism in a post-Colonial era and the effects on contemporary art production.

Seventh Gwangju Biennial
Seventh Gwangju Biennial
Allan deSouza September 5 - November 9, 2008

The Biennale aims to contribute to “blurring distinctions between center and margin” as well as to a “break from the past of discrimination and exclusivity”, and is organized by Artistic Director Okwui Enwezor, with Co-Curators Hyunjin Kim and Ranjit Hoskote. deSouza will participate in MYDADA, a group effort with the artists Yong Soon Min and Abdelali Dahrouch.

Time Out New Delhi
Time Out New Delhi
A Decade of Photoworks: 1998-2008 August 22, 2008

The four series comprising this excellent exhibition – “UFO”, “Lost Pictures”, “Divine” and “Threshold” – pay tribute to ten years worth of work by photographer Allan deSouza.

Art India
Art India
Stripping Illusions August 2008

Karin Miller-Lewis looks at the dialogue between structure and surface in the works of Seher Shah and Allan deSouza.

The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: Allan deSouza February 28, 2008

Allan deSouza, born in Kenya of Indian parents, has lived in California for years, commuting between a home in Los Angeles and a teaching job in San Francisco. Partly to pass the time on the routine intercity flights, he got into the habit of taking photographs from the plane windows before takeoff, and in the air, and on landing.

Art Papers
Art Papers
Art Scene on the Move January 2007

Over the course of the last year, San Francisco has experienced an influx of artists and curators from around the globe. The appointment of Documenta Xl curator Olcwui Enwezor as Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice-President at the San Francisco Art Institute back in July 2005 has been a magnetic force drawing new faculty from around the world such as artist-educator Renee Green, curator-critic Hou Hanru, and artist-writer Allan deSouza.

The First Architecture, Art and Landscape Biennial of the Canaries
The First Architecture, Art and Landscape Biennial of the Canaries
Allan deSouza November 25, 2006 - February 25, 2007

In its inaugural year, the Biennial addresses relationships between natural, social, and economic environments and effects on people and landscapes in and between countries. 

Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography
Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography
Allan deSouza and Zarina Bhimji

International Center of Photography, New York | March 10 - My 28, 2006
Miami Art Central, Miami, FL | June 29 - August 17, 2006
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City | February 14 - May 6, 2007
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN | February 29 - May 25, 2008

An exhibition of some of the most forceful propositions by contemporary artists and photographers on how to look at Africa. 

Modern Painters
Modern Painters
Allan deSouza: The Lost Pictures September 2005

Allan deSouza's poignant exhibition explores the failings of both memory and photography as means of recording and preserving the past from aging, loss, displacement and historical change

The New York Times
The New York Times
The Listings: Allan deSouza's The Lost Pictures July 1, 2005

ALLAN DESOUZA: 'THE LOST PICTURES' New pictures by this conceptualist photographer meditate on the photograph as a memorial object. Mr. deSouza placed prints made from old family slides around hishome, allowing them to become faded and abraded and to accumulate hair, dust and other debris. He then turned them into large, glossy digital prints in which the ghosts of the original images haunt the new, busily textured, semi-abstract surfaces.

The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: (desi)re March 25, 2005

For an experience of contemporary South Asian art different in look and tone from that in "Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India" at the Asia Society and the Queens Museum of Art, try this small group show of eight artists from Talwar's stable.

Allan deSouza
Allan deSouza
in Africa Remix: Contemporary art of a continent

Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany | July 24 - November 7, 2004
Hayward Gallery, London, UK | February 10 - April 17, 2005
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France | May 25 - August 8, 2005
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan | May 27 - August 31, 2006

Allan deSouza
Allan deSouza
in Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora

Museum for African Art, New York, NY | November 14, 2013 - March 1, 2004
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA | March 27 - June 20, 2004
Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI | September 11 - November 28, 2004
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal | January 25 - April 3, 2005
Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA | April 6 - July 10, 2006

The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: Allan deSouza June 13, 2003

Allan deSouza's second show at Talwar continues a kind of work begun in his first: photographs of tabletop studio models of cities and landscapes. 

The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: Allan deSouza December 7, 2001

Allan deSouza's photographs alternate between two images omnipresent in recent news: rocky, desertlike landscapes and the Manhattan skyline. In fact, Mr. deSouza's pictures are taken of hand-made tabletop studio setups and were, with two exceptions, shot early last summer during an artist-in-residence stay at Art in General in TriBeCa.

Art in General
Art in General
Allan deSouza in Terrain May 3 - June 30, 2001

Carving city blocks out of discarded computer chips and building forests from lampshades, Artist-in-Residence Allan deSouza creates a new photographic landscape series out of industrial debris and detritus found in the area.  deSouza recylces the city's castoffs to create microcosmic representations of the city iteslef.  The result is the Terrain series of chronographic prints.