Untitled (2015); acrylic, glitter and soft sculpture on canvas. 72” x 48"

This week we welcome RIDIKKULUZ, a self-taught, New York-based, queer, Arab American artist working in painting, sculpture, performance and video. His work focuses on marginalized identities and their spaces through figurative portraiture. 

RIDIKKULUZ encompasses identity, duality and emotion,  while creating a bridge between Western and Arab culture. He is proud to be in NYC’s ballroom community as a member of the Haus of Telfar. RIDIKKULUZ is a Khalil Gibran Scholar who was chosen to create a mural in 2020 for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Macon branch. Most recently, he created the cover art for DJ Lorant’s new single, “More Freedom.” 

“Sultana applying Nivea before bed” (2023); oil on canvas

RIDIKKULUZ graduated in 2016 from St. John’s University in Queens and continued his studies in France, Spain and Italy. RIDIKKULUZ’s work has since been featured in the music videos of Lupe Fiasco and Kiing Sky. In 2018, he was interviewed by Amman Radio for his depiction of the King and Queen in Jordan. 

“The art history of figurative portraiture was reserved for the European elite. By shining a light on unheard voices, the narrative becomes decolonized. As an artist, I have the ability to use my autonomy and technical skill to memorialize my family, my chosen family, and myself,” he writes. 

“Nerdeen, Within Our Lifetime” (2022); oil on canvas. 18″ x 24″ 

“Drawing from the social weight of iconic religious idols, my works seek an aura that is beyond the inanimate, begging to be worshiped and analyzed. As if they were to leap out of the painting, the figures  imbue the viewer with context clues and sensible imagery to formulate a story.  

“Stop Staring” (2019); acrylic, glitter and soft sculpture on canvas. 72” x 48“

My multi-disciplinary practice is on the journey to total and unapologetic self-expression. I emphasize delivery systems of grief, friendship, and self-reflection mixed with conflicting themes of Queerness and Arab iconography. Within this, I intersect these layers of identity so they coexist harmoniously. Whether it be bridging the gap between the east and the west, the straights and the gays, or me and the world — I investigate the human condition, the parts we play, and how identity evolves and hides.”

See more of RIDIKKULUZ’s work on his website and Instagram.

Nitin is a visual designer, gallery artist, and community arts activist. Past desk-oriented posts include: PBS, Digitas, K12, Inc., Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Sesame Workshop International....

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