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Installation image of Lina Iris Viktor at LGDR, London 2022

Lina Iris Viktor

"Black to me is the proverbial ‘materia prima’: the first matter blackness as source, the dark matter that birthed everything."
— Lina Iris Viktor

Lina Iris Viktor is a Liberian-British conceptual artist, painter, and performance artist. Her work across media explores the innumerable conceptions, interpretations, and expressions of blackness—as color, metaphor, and social identity. She often engages narratives, both historical and speculative, that center on the feminine black figure as a universal form. Her work draws on etymology, astrophysics, geopolitics, and classical mythology, as well as influences ranging from African symbolism in the Dogon people of Mali to the work of Chris Ofili, Louise Nevelson, and Seydou Keïta. Viktor’s Dark Continent (2015–22) series of works on paper references imperial constructions of Africa as the “dark continent,” featuring a lone female figure in dark, monochromatic landscapes illuminated by gilded cosmic symbols. Her 2017–18 series A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred. draws on connections between New Orleans and the resettlement of formerly enslaved people in Liberia.

Viktor studied film at Sarah Lawrence College and photography at the School of Visual Arts. Her work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Fotografiska Museum of Photography, Stockholm (2020); Autograph, London (2019); and New Orleans Museum of Art (2018), among others. She has been included in group exhibitions at such venues as the Hayward Gallery, London (2022); North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (2020); Somerset House, London (2019); Ford Foundation, New York (2019); Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (2018); Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville (2016); Spelman Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta (2016); and Cooper Gallery, Harvard University, Cambridge (2016). Her work resides in such collections as the National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; and Crocker Museum of Fine Art, Sacramento. She lives and works between Italy and London.

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