The Student Works Gallery is pleased to present Mikel Elam: Myth, Magic, Spirit, Survival. Diary of an Afrofuturist. The exhibition comprised of recent mixed media works will run through Friday, February 25th, 2022.  The artist will give a short gallery talk on his work at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22nd, and later in the afternoon, there will be a reception for the artist from 5 -7 p.m. The exhibition and programs are free and open to the public.
Mikel Elam is a visual artist working primarily as a painter. His work focuses on storytelling through memory and dreams using the fragments of face and figure to convey information and ideas about world culture. 

Elam attended the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia where he received a bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts/Painting. He went on to study at the School of the Visual Arts in New York City. Elam’s work has been featured in international publications and media. With a broad creative resume beyond painting, he did freelance work in film, as well as working in the art department on several feature films, theater projects, and television commercials. Mikel also worked as an assistant to several photographers both in Philadelphia and New York. Of particular biographical note, Elam worked for five years as a traveling assistant to jazz musician Miles Davis. He also assisted Mr. Davis in achieving his visual arts aspirations as a painter.

The Outsider, 2021, mixed media on canvas, 30″ x 40″

In a statement, Elam has said of his work:

The diversity of the world is very apparent. It is important to tell everyone’s story from background to foreground through visuals, literature, sound, and film.

I am a visual artist interested in the contrast of history and the concepts of futurism. I express my ideals through abstracting the figure. In fact, I like to think of myself as an Afro-futurist. I use classic painting techniques interspersed with a mix medium of collage, found objects, assorted ephemera to convey messages about human equality or lack of. In short, I am a storyteller. This body of work consists of painted fabric, mesh and paper mounted onto canvas and wood panels. Sometimes I construct and deconstruct an image, erase, push and pull areas to convey emotional responses. I use pigments which simulate melanin-based skin and hair with highly keyed colors to evoke memories of the past with a glimpse into an inclusive future.

The Student Works Gallery is located in the Rutgers-Camden Campus Center, 326 Penn St, Camden, NJ 08102.  
Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Campus Holidays.

For more info or images contact:  Bruce Garrity, SWG Faculty Advisor/Curator at         

The mission of the Student Works Gallery at Rutgers University – Camden is to bring diverse contemporary exhibitions, and other cultural programs created by current students, alumni, faculty, and invited artists to the entire University community. The Gallery is dedicated to the intellectual and artistic life of the university, and the engagement of the community at large. It provides the opportunity to interact with artists and artistic projects by featuring exhibits and programs of regional, national, and international importance.

The Student Works Gallery is a Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts student-curated and administered space in conjunction with the Office of Student Activities.