FotoFest is pleased to reveal the artistic concept and title of its 19th international biennial exhibition. Titled, If I Had a Hammer, the FotoFest Biennial 2022 takes place September 24–November 6, 2022 in Houston, Texas at Sawyer Yards and throughout the city of Houston. The exhibition and its related public programs are co-curated and organized by Steven Evans, Max Fields, and Amy Sadao with curatorial advisory support from Julie Ault, Nora N. Khan, and Jeanne Vaccaro.
The FotoFest Biennial 2022 central exhibition, If I Had a Hammer, considers the ways in which artists utilize images to unpack the ideological underpinnings that inspire collective cultural movements around the globe, at a moment when social beliefs and political imaginaries are becoming dogma at the tap of a button and the click of a shutter. The exhibition addresses the role of images in the construction, representation, reception, and repression of global social movements and political ideologies. A diverse range of image-based practices are represented: activists and photo-documentarians, research-based artists and collectives, filmmakers and performance artists, and artists working within social practice. The included artists expose, through diverse methods, the potential of images to support progressive movements, as well as their ability to oppress marginalized and at-risk populations. If I had a Hammer highlights strategies that artists employ to create archives that subvert the hegemonic anthropological and documentary gaze, play against traditional forms from portraiture to landscape photography, and imagine alternative political scenarios while turning over an insistence on a finished, final, or decisive image.
The Biennial 2022 exhibition is supported by a range of public programs, including an opening weekend event, public tours, musical and artist performances, a symposium, and a film program. An accompanying book featuring texts, interviews, and essays by the exhibition curators and invited contributors published by FotoFest and Schilt Publishing will be available upon the exhibition’s opening. Edited by Steven Evans, Max Fields, and Amy Sadao and designed by HvA Design, the publication features comprehensive texts on each of the exhibiting artists.
The FotoFest Biennial 2022 program includes the presentation of an adjacent exhibition titled African Cosmologies: Redux, organized by Autograph ABP Director Mark Sealy. This exhibition is an adaptation of the postponed FotoFest Biennial 2020 exhibition, African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other, featuring artists included in the original iteration of that exhibition and complemented by a series of programs.
FotoFest also presents the exhibition Ten by Ten: Ten Portfolios from the Meeting Place 2020–21, featuring artists whose works are selected by a series of invited nominators as exceptional image-based portfolios presented during the 2020–21 FotoFest International Meeting Place Portfolio Review programs. The 2022 Ten by Ten exhibition is a celebration of FotoFest’s Meeting Place Portfolio Review as an important site of discourse and display, highlighting the works of ten artists, nominated by ten guest reviewers, whose works exemplify the broad range of contemporary photographic practice. The exhibition is complemented by an illustrated digital catalogue featuring images representing each of the artist’s work and essays by those who nominated them for inclusion in the Ten by Tenexhibition. Reviewers and writers for the catalogue include Nela Eggenberger, Teona Gogichaishvili, Mary Heathcott and Jacqueline McGilvray, Sam Mercer, Joaquim Paiva, Sinara Sandri, Serubiri Moses, Johan Sjostrom, Paula Tognarelli, and Wendy Watriss.