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With a career spanning over 25 years, Atiba Jefferson is one of the most significant photographers of our time. His unique style and generation-bridging presence in the the world of sport, and specifically skateboarding, has made him not only a witness to moments in skate history but an active participant in the making, sharing, and advancement of the culture.

The closing weekend of Miami Art Week played host to the most comprehensive survey of Jefferson’s skate photography to date, covering the full scope of his work from his most iconic images – featuring legendary athletes such as Tony Hawk, Kareem Campbell, Eric Koston, Andrew Reynolds, and Tyshawn Jones – to never-before-seen BTS and archival gems.

This groundbreaking exhibition positioned Atiba not just as a documentarian but as an artist whose beautifully composed images and unique style deeply resonate with the skateboarding community and the uninitiated alike.

Virgil x Atiba

The exhibition is organized by Architecture (ARCH), Virgil Abloh’s creative studio and think tank in residence at Nike since 2020.At Miami Art Week 2022, Architecture organized a retrospective of Virgil Abloh’s work with Nike entitled “The Codes: Virgil Abloh c/o Architecture” and the first annual Abloh Invitational —already considered one of the country’s preeminent skateboarding events.

The Abloh Invitational is an activation of a core pillar of ARCH’s mission —continuing Virgil’s work of supporting Black athletes and creatives in the world of skate. The exhibition is an expansion of that mission given Atiba and Virgil’s friendship and collaborations as well as Atiba’s career-long career-long commitment to platforming Black skaters.

The Exhibition

The core of the exhibition consisted of large-scale photographs from throughout Atiba’s career from the first grainy film images he shot in high school to his recent already-legendary images of Tyshawn Jones kick flip the express tracks in the 145th Street subway station in Harlem, New York.

The exhibition narrates the development of Atiba’s artistic vision over the course of his 25+ year career, as well as the evolution of photo technology and of skateboarding as a sport and cultural movement over that same period. Awe-inspiring large scale prints of Atiba’s photographs were balanced with intimate moments with smaller scale as in-process ephemera and other objects of interest from his archive.

Combined with insightful panel discussions with Atiba and some of his most frequent subjects and collaborators, the resulting exhibition provided unprecedented insight on Atiba’s singular artistic vision and voice within the culture.


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