Houston-based Jamal Cyrus’s body of work began from revisionist approaches within American history, particularly studies dealing with the African Diaspora and the formulation of Black political movements. His work acts as a document of questioning, meditation, mediation, and commemoration, attempting to distill and preserve the essences of political and social struggle. More recently, he has become interested in the idea of “The New World,” and the ensuing after-effects of clashing cultures-specifically the characterization of cultures as they blend. For Cyrus, this interest is manifested in the results of creolization, hybridity, and the notion that cultures are becoming much more abstract and increasingly difficult to define.
Cyrus received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. After receiving his BFA from the University of Houston in 2004, he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2005. He has participated in exhibitions at The Kitchen in New York, New York (2009); The Museum of London Docklands, London, England (2009); Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium (2007); and CTRL gallery, Houston, Texas (2007). Cyrus’s work was shown in the Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night; and he is an active participant in the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates, with whom he has contributed to exhibitions such as Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy, High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia (2008); and Lessons from Below, The Menil Collection, Houston (2007).