The FotoFest Biennial 2022 central exhibition, If I Had a Hammer, considers the ways in which artists utilize images to unpack the ideological underpinnings that inspire collective cultural movements around the globe, at a moment when social beliefs and political imaginaries are becoming dogma at the tap of a button and the click of a shutter. The exhibition addresses the role of images in the construction, representation, reception, and repression of global social movements and political ideologies. A diverse range of image-based practices are represented: activists and photo- documentarians, research-based artists and collectives, filmmakers and performance artists, and artists working within social practice. The included artists expose, through diverse methods, the potential of images to support progressive movements, as well as their ability to oppress marginalized and at-risk populations. If I had a Hammer highlights strategies that artists employ to create archives that subvert the hegemonic anthropological and documentary gaze, play against traditional forms from portraiture to landscape photography, and imagine alternative political scenarios while turning over an insistence on a finished, final, or decisive image.
FotoFest Biennial 2022 takes place September 24–November 6, 2022 in Houston, Texas at Sawyer Yards and throughout the city of Houston. The exhibition and its related public programs are co-curated and organized by Steven Evans, Max Fields, and Amy Sadao with curatorial advisory support from Julie Ault, Nora N. Khan, and Jeanne Vaccaro.