“These images attempt to bring the Black presence in Mexico from obscurity to light, from opacity to transparency, and from invisibility to tangibility in a way that respects the history and struggle while showcasing the beauty and strength of Black Mexico.”

Hakeem Khaaliq is a recipient of a 2017 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

Multidisciplinary artist Hakeem Khaaliq received funding in support of an anthropological interactive digital augmented reality photo essay showcasing the isolated descendants of the African Diaspora who reside on Mexico’s rural Pacific and Gulf Coasts, commonly referred to as Afro-Mexicanos. Although the essay will focus on specific towns in Mexico, the purpose for its development is to educate and inform the African American and Mexican American communities of Arizona by highlighting the cultural history shared by both Blacks and Mexicans, bringing awareness of the topic to the larger community. This project will launch February 2017, Black History Month, where Khaaliq will expand the essay into an interactive augmented reality installation exhibit.

Khaaliq’s project, “Encuentro Phoenix,” mixes the physical with the virtual, superimposing a computer-generated image onto images of the real world, as seen through a headset or mobile device. Displaying information overlays and digital content tied to the physical objects and locations featured in the photos, the viewer is immersed in a singular experience of cultural dialogue.

La Familia, 2014

The Elder, 2014

Khaaliq is the co-founder and creative director of the internationally distributed publication and news media outlet Nation19, and a former program director for NBC Interactive. He has designed, directed, and produced for Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Sean “Puffy” Combs, David Banner, Russell Simmons, Kobe Bryant, MGM Television, Derrick Rose, Aloe Blacc, NBC Interactive, WBLS (New York), and KIISfm (Burbank). In 2014 he co-produced a mini documentary and was featured on Univision Television network for his 13 years of research photographing indigenous cultures in Central America, showcasing their beauty, heritage, and ancient monuments. He is also the 2016 recipient of The Mutianyu Artist Fellowship in Beijing, China. His work has been featured on MTV, VH1, Showtime, NBC, Lions Gate Films, PBS, and Univision Television Network.

Khaaliq began directing and producing documentary films, but his passion for social change and activism led him to direct and produce films focusing on pressing global issues.