The Houston Center for Photography (HCP), a photography education center and exhibition space in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, has announced Aaron Turner and Yue Nakayama as its 2021 fellowship recipients. Drew Sawyer, the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator at the Brooklyn Museum, was the juror for the awards. As part of their fellowships, in addition to each receiving a a $3,000 award, Turner and Nakayama will have solo exhibitions at HCP opening November 19, 2021 and running through January 9, 2022.
Nakayama was awarded the Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship, which is given annually to a Houston-based artist. From 2016-2018, Nakayama was an artist-in-residence at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and during her time in Houston her work has been exhibited at Moonmist, Diverseworks, and Inferno Gallery, among other spaces. Nakayama will produce new video work for her fellowship exhibition.
According to Sawyer in a statement posted to the HCP website,
“Nakayama combines techniques from documentary film, instructional videos, and performance to humorously respond to social problems and the human condition, from procreation and communication to climate crisis and mass migration. Yet, rarely does her work provide simple narratives or answers. Instead, Nakayama relishes in heterogeneous and often absurd stories that employ the perspectives of multiple narrators and speak to the complexity or instability of contemporary identities and belief systems.”
Turner is the recipient of the Houston Center for Photography Fellowship, which is given each year to an artist from anywhere in the world. Turner is the founder and curator of the Center for Photographers of Color at the School of Art at the University of Arkansas, where he also teaches. He was a 2018 Light Work Artists-in-Residence at Syracuse University, a 2019 EnFoco Photography Fellow, a 2020 Visual Studies Workshop Project Space Artist-in-Residence, a 2020 Mid-American Arts Alliance’s Artist 360 grant recipient, and a recipient of the 2021 Creators Lab Photo Fund from Google’s Creator Labs and the Aperture Foundation. His work was included in HCP’s 2019 Center Annual Exhibition. He also hosts the Photographers of Color Podcast. Sawyer praised Turner’s work, saying,
“Turner’s series Black Alchemy relishes in the magic of the photographic medium — the chemical and physical metamorphoses that occur when processing film and creating prints in the darkroom. It also explores the radical potential of the medium to move between representation and abstraction, and the past and the present … Black Alchemy also recalls the writings of contemporary theorist Fred Moten on the metaphysics of Blackness. Like Moten, Turner shifts the emphasis away from the Black subject to the material, historical, and poetic qualities of blackness in all of its manifestations, from historical figures to black-and-white photography itself.”
More information on the awards and exhibitions can be found on the Houston Center for Photography’s website.