a New Orleans-based visual artist who, through exhibitions, public programs, and public art works, is engaged in a transnational dialogue about the intersection of art and resistance. From film to murals to installations, Odumsâ work encapsulates the political fervor of a generation of Black American activists who came of age amidst the tenure of the nationâs first Black president, the resurgence of popular interest in law enforcement violence, and the emergence of the self-care movement. Most often working with spray paint, Odums paints brightly-colored, wall-sized murals that depict historical figures, contemporary creatives, and everyday people. In his otherwise figurative work, Odums departs from realism to play with color â blending lavender to paint the skin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and robinâs egg blue for Harriet Tubman, for instance â suggesting an ethos of boldness that unites the subjects of his work and surpasses race, time, or any other aspect of physical reality.
After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), where he studied visual art, Odums began working as a filmmaker, creating original content through 2-Cent Entertainment LLC and directing music videos for hip hop artists like Curren$y, Juvenile, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). Founding 2-Cent in 2005, Odums led the collective of then college-age Black creatives in documenting and analyzing New Orleansâ changing sociopolitical landscape in the years following Hurricane Katrina through DIY satire and interviews that garnered national attention and coveted awards, including an NAACP Image Award.
Odums began experimenting with graffiti in 2012, attracted to the medium because of its decidedly temporary nature. After painting a series of murals of Black revolutionaries in the Florida Housing Development in New Orleansâ Ninth Ward, other young creatives began to flock to the location, adding their own words, images, and even movement. This underground, guerilla art hub, which Odums named #ProjectBe, is the subject of the documentary âStrong Lightâ by Patrick Melon.
After the Housing Authority of New Orleans shuttered the Florida Housing Development, Odums created Exhibit Be, a public art exhibition housed in a dilapidated apartment complex on New Orleansâ West Bank (this time with the ownerâs permission). The largest single-site public art exhibition in the American South to date, Exhibit Be was a collaboration with over 40 artists who covered the facades of the four buildings with five-story murals and created indoor installations and found-object sculptures that spoke to the spatialized racial violence that had led to the siteâs unoccupied state. The exhibition culminated in a three-day festival at which Christian Scott, David Banner, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, Tank and the Bangas, and Trombone Shorty performed.