Queer Islamic Art: Artist talk with Damien Ajavon
Welcome to an artist talk with the Oslo-based queer textile artist Damien Ajavon.
The talk is held by curator Noor Bhangu, and is the first in a series of artist talks and lectures related to the project Queer Islamic Art.
Based in Oslo, Damien Ajavon is a queer textile artist, born in France, of Senegalese and Togolese origin. Their work explores the different methods in which textiles fibres can be manipulated by hand: knotted, braided, tangled, and woven. The interaction between visual and tactile experiences has always played an important role in their process; Ajavon uses their African and western influences as a vehicle for their textile storytelling and as visual markers of their creative approaches.
It is through textile languages rather than oral ones that Ajavon has been unearthing and weaving connections with their ancestry. They have accumulated substantial experience internationally that honed their expertise and technique. They learnt to weave hemp, dye cashmere and work with feathers in Italy, felting hats and making accessories in Quebec, pattern making and knitwear in New York City, digital knitting in Norway and Manjak tradition weaving in Senegal.
Ajavon’s practice is grounded in their heritage, influenced by both African and Western influences, which serve as a tool to create textiles that are culturally representative. Not only that, but by a strong desire to merge generations of African craftsmanship with their diasporic and transoceanic knowledge and experiences through textiles.
Queer Islamic Art is an exhibition and research project considering the relation between Islam and the queer, based on contemporary and historic art. The project will involve artists, poets, activists, architects, filmmakers and researchers, and will result in an exhibition at the National Museum in 2025.
Queer Islamic Art is curated by Noor Bhangu, in cooperation with the visual artist Hanan Benammar.