Alanna Airitam | New Histories – Where Present Meets Past

3 February – 2 March 2024

Alanna Airitam

New Histories – Where Present Meets Past

Escondido, California

Airitam pushes the traditional boundaries of photography by incorporating materials such as metal, resin, varnish, and gold into her work. Her work is inspired by the lighting of 17th century Renaissance paintings, early Black studio photography, and historic and contemporary narratives.
Artist Statement I believe history is simply a collection of stories we pass down through generations. These stories become our truths and therefore truth becomes subjective based on the stories we tell. For the past seven years, I have been fully committed to my art practice. Part of this practice is understanding why I feel compelled to live my life as an artist. I’ve come to understand this compulsion is driven by my need to understand the subjective nature of truth and how our collective histories fragment into different realities based on the stories we are told. Through the lens of photography, I hope to unravel the secrets of the past, drawing upon the belief that a photograph is proof of existence, the closest thing to an irrefutable truth. I also challenge that with the understanding that photos can also be manipulated and constructed to tell a version of a story, just like our histories. My work is influenced by the power, resilience, and beauty of Black people; the strength and creativity of women; and the dream of a world where individuals are free to shape their own lives without interference. I find inspiration in the syncopation of jazz, the transportive nature of storytelling, and the endless possibility of the human spirit. My love for the lighting found in 17th-century Renaissance paintings and the legacy of early Black studio photographers are ever present in my work. I create work to better understand the complicated world we live in and because the process of making feeds my soul. I hope viewers will engage with my work and feel encouraged to see the positive potential and beauty of human existence. Art has the power to transform. I seek to inspire individuals to reflect upon their own stories and the impact they have on others. We’re all creators, shaping narratives through our experiences and dreams. I’m asking viewers to reflect on the stories they’ve been told that have shaped their beliefs and question the constructed realties we live in.
Artist Profile
Alanna Airitam