Competition: US & Canada
Jamal Cyrus (b. 1973, Houston, Texas) is a visual artist based in Houston. Ranging from sculpture, to drawing, to performance, Cyrus’ expansive practice draws on the languages of collage and assemblage to reflect upon the histories of Black political movements and the aesthetics of the Black radical tradition. Sound and music are central to his works, as is the use of unlikely materials that range from found objects, to papyrus, to denim, to repurposed musical instruments. Embracing abstraction, Cyrus engages an artistic approach which aims to transform mundane materials into objects with rich, densely packed networks of meaning and functionality. In doing so, his work brings to light historical narratives and figures which have been systemically overlooked or erased, while simultaneously investigating Black spirituality, expressive culture, and resistance within the African diaspora. Cyrus received his BFA from the University of Houston in 2004 and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. His mid-career survey, “The End of My Beginning,” opened at the Blaffer Museum of Art in 2021 and traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Mississippi Museum of Art in 2022. Cyrus was a founding member of the collective Otabenga Jones & Associates.