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image of the logo used for TEN art exhibition



Kajahl’s portraits combine iconography from African, Asian, European, and Pre-Columbian traditions. His process entails sifting through history, both amassing and archiving imagery ranging from ancient art, vintage ethnography, historical portraiture and landscape. Through the medium of oil painting, Kajahl depicts a range of figures elevated to an iconic status, including alchemists, astronomers, dignitaries, navigational explorers and majestic deities.

For Kajahl, painting is a place where we can traverse different cultures and temporalities as a way to challenge our ideas about how we see ourselves and others. His work questions the boundaries of identity by treating painting as a site where radical mixtures, overlooked history and speculative fiction come into play. His paintings take us to a time before race existed by opening up to the chaos and complexity, expanding the periphery around how we perceive ourselves in the past and present day. The figures themselves are semi fictional, composed of artifacts from history, yet in their totality, do not represent figures from real history.

As deeply invested in the artifacts themselves and their respective histories, Kajahl is ultimately interested in how the combination of objects become a more accurate reflection of who we are. They transcend what confines or limit us in this reality and open us to the possibilities of who and what we can become.

Kajahl was born in Santa Cruz, CA in 1985 and received his BFA in painting from San Francisco State University in 2008. He spent his final year studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Tuscany, Italy.In 2012 Kajahl received is MFA in painting from Hunter College, New York, NY.Kajahl was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2013. He was also a 2016 Artist in Residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA. Kajahl was recently awarded an Artist-in-Residence at Lower Eastside Printshop New York, NY in 2019. Kajahl is represented by Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles and Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.Recent solo exhibitions include Royal Specter at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, IL, Unearthed Entities at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Obscure Origins at Tillou Fine Arts Brooklyn, NY, curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah. Public collections include Collection Solo, The Dean Collection, The Studio Museum Harlem and 21c Museum Hotel: Art Museum.

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