in case you should forget to sweep before sunset


Until these calamities be overpast, 2018

in case you should forget to sweep before sunset

Zalika Azim

Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 6-8pm
Exhibition dates:
 March 6 – April 13, 2019

Coffee Talks: Saturday, March 16 and Thursday, March 21 | 11am, Saturday, April 6 | 4:30pm

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is pleased to present in case you should forget to sweep before sunset by 2018 Workspace Resident Zalika Azim, opening March 6, 2019 and running through April 13, 2019. Featuring multiple lens-based works as well a new photographic installation, the forthcoming exhibition explores notions of home, memory, migration, and remigration.

Referring to southern lore, the title in particular, pulls from a common superstition which suggests that “the home should not be swept past sunset.” For believers, doing so puts one at risk of sweeping away the spirits of ancestors who may provide protection to the family home. In case you should forget to sweep before sunset is not only an engagement with ancestral knowledges and southern sensibilities, but is also a play on expectations of time, space, and narration.

Drawing from instances recalled through shared family memories, alongside historical events and speculation, Azim unravels and reworks the photograph to construct overlapping, non-linear narratives that foreground the many ways in which fact and fiction collide. Through these layered works, Azim presents the viewer with landscapes that collectively act as repositories, projecting multiple occurrences simultaneously.    

Incorporating found photographs taken and collected by her late grandmother Mary E. Lemons between the 1930s and 2000s, the artist asks critical questions about the historical impact of photography on African American life: How do modes of disruption and code function as markers of protection, specifically with regard to locating safe spaces and notions of home? How do the politics of repetition shed light on migration and ritual?

Looking at the habitual activities and superstitious beliefs that are rooted throughout the larger black community, Azim’s work engages in a vulnerable act of introspection. The repeated use of multicolored patterns and wallpaper reflected in Azim’s work pulls directly from communal folklore. These works reference the historic functions and symbolism of wallpaper and quilting in black communities, which ranged from spiritual protection to directional guides along the black belt. As seen in Totem (these many things are discussed over and over), 2019, Azim treats wallpaper as a talisman, pairing it with double exposed images taken by her grandmother in an effort to make sense of the American landscape that her ancestors navigated. Through these totemic juxtapositions, Azim sets out to challenge traditional encounters and interpretations of the photograph, while seeking new entry points into the ongoing investigation of personal narrative and collective memory.

About Zalika Azim

Zalika Azim (b.1990) is a New York-based artist conceptualizing her practice through photography, installation, performance, collage and sound. Exploring the complexities of personal and collective narratives, her work investigates the ways in which notions of memory, displacement, and the body are negotiated in relation to nationhood and the American landscape. Azim’s work has been exhibited within the United States and abroad, including the International Center of Photography, Pfizer, 8th Floor Gallery, Diego Rivera Gallery, the Instituto Superior de Arte and The Dean Collection. Zalika holds a BFA in Photography and Imaging from the Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University.


“In Zalika Azim’s recent work, layering is less an act of concealment than one of exposure. Her first solo exhibition, “In case you should forget to sweep before sunset,” features images that are physically placed atop one another or are superimposed to unlock manifold associations. Broader themes of dispersion, kinship, and survival are interleaved with intimate family histories.”- ArtForum


“The photograph has always been linked to the home, they greeted you as you entered the front door, were placed on refrigerators, lodged in dresser mirrors, and took up space in family albums and books. Transcending language and time, photography challenges the linear narrative, emphasizing and bearing witness to the delicacy of time and memory. Photographs are conduits—the singular voice contributing to the collective—they offer up space to look deeply at ourselves and the world around us.”-B&H

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Each year Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York selects four emerging photographers living in New York City for the Workspace Residency Program, which offers them analog and digital workspace at the International Center of Photography, access to the Baxter St at CCNY community and programs, and solo exhibitions at Baxter St. This exhibition is the third in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2018 winners of the Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, Fujifilm of North America, Awagami Factory, and Yarden Wines.