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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

Janiva Ellis

This course on artist Janiva Ellis focuses on drawing and the representation of the Black community in the media.  Recommended for lessons on Black history and/or art classes.

About Janiva Ellis

Janiva Ellis’s paintings produce abundant imagery, invented as well as appropriated. She draws from a broad array of material, including art history and pop culture, to comment on the insidious nature of white supremacist mythology and its denial of itself as a brutal social and structural force. Her work interrogates pervasive images, examining their contexts and sentimental resonances. She uses the wide-ranging strategies of landscape, abstraction, and cartoon for a sardonic reframing of the images’ visual and emotional narratives. The humor in her work aims to create space for release as well as renewal. Ellis uses figuration to paint Blackness expansively, communicating the complexity of navigating such a lopsided and violent landscape.

Janiva Ellis (b. 1987, Oakland, California) received a BFA from California College of the Arts, Oakland, in 2012. She recently exhibited her work at the 2019 Whitney Biennial, New York, and the 2018 New Museum Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New York. In 2018 Ellis was awarded the Rema Hort Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and the Stanley Hollander Award. Her works are held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Rubell Museum, Miami; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

Janiva Ellis at ICA Miami

Photo Janiva Ellis by Levi Mandel
Janiva Ellis. Photo: Levi Mandel.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.
Installation view: "Janiva Ellis: Rats," Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, February 25–September 12, 2021. Photo: Zachary Balber.