Top Image: "Get Me Bodied (Beyoncé)", 2016. Spray paint, acrylic on canvas. 60"x48"
For artist Tariku Shiferaw, the mark is a concept that he constantly grapples with. A mark is a way for humans to leave behind their presence. When used purposefully, it becomes a storytelling tool that’s utilized as early as the presence of the cave marks. When simplified, a mark becomes a line. It’s a feature that’s heavily repeated in Shiferaw’s works. It’s present in the painted lines he creates or the shipping crates he utilized.
While some might equate the lines to prison bars or censor bars, Shiferaw sees them more as the building blocks of not just his works, but of storytelling in general. Inspired by the shipping pallets he now uses in his installations, the lines became the marks of society’s story.
But storytelling is much more than just mark-making. Many of Shiferaw’s creations are named after and inspired by songs created by Black musicians. Now intrinsically tied to the history of Black music, Shiferaw’s works tell the story of Black artists in all walks of life.