I created this body of work out of a desire to re-imagine the year 1961 in the American South. In considering the relationship of past and present, I wanted to apply the omniscience that the present has over the past — in the sense that the present always knows the “future” of the past and will always be responsible for applying meaning to the past. I created a body of diptychs that synthesize ideas of racial, sexual and social tensions present during the Civil Rights Movement. By using found color slides and text from two pro-segregation texts (a letter addressed to Malcolm X from the grand wizard of the KKK and a transcript of a speech by the Lt. Governor of Georgia) and combining them with rephotographed and re-contextualized mugshots of the Freedom Riders (a civil rights group that rode through the South to promote the desegregation of buses), I created what can be viewed as a romantic or suggestive narrative wherein the white masculine addresses the black feminine.
Through the use of found and original imagery, I generate tableaux where the symbol and the symbolized exist simultaneously within one space. I am interested in the narrative that emerges in such situations – the viewer is confronted with the absurdity of the spatial, physical relationship presented which subsequently brings attention to his or her passive consumption of such relationships. As a part of my works exploration of the relationships between symbols and materials, I often examine the ways in which materials and symbols operate as functions of time. Rephotographed images are an integral part of this examination as they are both symbols and material objects, which are widely accepted as the most unambiguous representations of reality.
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Nikita Gale is a self-taught conceptual artist and photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. A recipient of a BA in Anthropology from Yale University in 2006, Gale’s work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the Atlanta, GA region including a solo exhibition entitled BOOLESH1T at Mint Gallery in 2010. She currently serves on the executive board of a non-profit Atlanta arts publication, BurnAway. Gales work has been featured in such publications as Art & Seek, 944 Magazine, Paste Magazine, Okay Player, Creative Loafing, SashaFrereJones.com, and URB Magazine, among others.