Rashid Johnson's Vital Voice

Johnson uses unusual materials in his works, such as shea butter, plants and black soap. (Chris Sorensen for The Washington Post)
Rashid Johnson uses unusual materials in his works, such as shea butter, plants and black soap. Courtesy Chris Sorensen for "The Washington Post"

The Washington Post featured Rashid Johnson (SAIC 2003–04, HON 2018) in its What Are You Working on? series, discussing how he creates his artwork. 

"Johnson’s agitated, inquisitive and increasingly commanding work in photography, film, mixed media and sculpture—all of it teasing out the complexities, absurdities and psychology of black cultural identity—has made him a vital voice of his generation," says the publication.

His two museum shows opening in July in Aspen, Colorado, and in Mexico City will feature a seven-minute film called The Hikers, which follows two Black men hiking a mountain in Aspen, one ascending it, the other descending. "The Hikers represents a new stage in Johnson’s increasingly supple take on race — race as a function of emotion and inner life as much as politics and injustice," says the Washington Post.

"I’m using art as a distribution system. It’s about what the materials and signifiers say. What they add and what they question. When shea butter takes that Middle Passage journey to a place like Harlem or Brooklyn or the South Side of Chicago, what does it then become?," says  Johnson of his work.