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Katya Akuma, an International Exhibitor

Beating out international applicants, Katya Akuma’s photography series, “Self Portraits: Prayer for a Safer World”, was selected to exhibit in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates.

Artist, Katya Akuma, stood out as one of the 30 photographers selected from an international open call to exhibit their work at Vantage Point Sharjah. The eighth iteration of the Sharjah Art Foundation represented photographers from more than 20 countries. The annual initiative aims to foster the development and creativity of photographers. 

Selected for her thematic self-portraiture, Akuma tells an overlooked story of personal experience and community life. In a tug of war with identity, the portraits express euphoria and defeat reflecting scenes of the human condition in search of themselves and a place of belonging. Transcending movement as an immigrant, Akuma depicts issues behind immigration as a third culture individual. 

Capturing the struggle of belonging for the mass of people displaced and unbound by a classification, she explores the label “foreigner”. Akuma was molded by the cultures and the countries where she has lived. The definition of worldly, she is a third culture individual raised in a place other than her country of nationality who also lived in a different environment during a significant part of her child development years. Her studies and work have taken her to the Czech Republic, Finland, France, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Currently based in New York, her work encompasses the cultures and countries that make up her transnational citizenship. 

She received a master’s degree from the Parson School of Design in Fashion Studies. Akuma is a visual artist that blurs the line between fashion design and fine art, always on the border of both, as she crosses cultural boundaries as an immigrant. 

Resulting in more authentic art, Akuma believes that a creative deep dive into identity is necessary to produce artwork reflective of her essence. Finding a meeting place between fashion and the arts, she composes images evoking emotions through poses and patterns. Using fashion as her medium, the fabric of the garments is the thick skin needed to fit in or stand out in a new environment. The poses of her body represent the dance of a struggle. Covered by avant-guard face masks, she shields her true self from displacement she invites the audience to visually perceive the weight and complexity as themselves. Akuma reflects on her own immigrant issues and experiences, mirroring the quest to find her identity and a place to call home.

Transposing fashion and art, Akuma is an artist who has showcased locally and internationally. She has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art x Pop Rally in the Bronx, “Beauty Undefined” presented by Beauty For Freedom and also at “In/Between 2020: Transfigure” presented by New York Live Arts. Be sure to see the seasoned artist’s solo exhibition in January 2021, entitled, “Memory of a Migrant” at the Andrew Freedman Home.

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