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Catalog Data

Photograph by:
Lola Flash, American, born 1959  Search this
Subject of:
Lola Flash, American, born 1959  Search this
ink on paper
H x W (sheet): 24 × 36 in. (61 × 91.4 cm)
H x W (image): 22 1/2 × 33 3/4 in. (57.2 × 85.8 cm)
inkjet prints
Place depicted:
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Throughout the self-portrait series syzygy, the vision, photographer Lola Flash (they/them) dons a space helmet, an orange prison uniform, and handcuffs. “Heavy on my mind is America’s mass incarceration and the question of breaking free,” Flash writes of the series, which also reflects their personal experiences with the police. Flash was arrested in 2008 “for walking while Black.” Their teaching license was suspended, leaving them unemployed for six months. Although syzygy, the vision began as a response to Afrofuturism, it expanded with the COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd’s killing to include themes of mass incarceration and Black Lives Matter. Like much of Flash’s work, the images confront issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and ageism.
An inkjet print self-portrait depicting the photographer, Lola Flash, as the lone figure on a New York City streetscape. Flash stands in the center of the cobblestone street, back to the camera. They wear a bright orange prison uniform, a futuristic white helmet, white gloves and white sneakers. Their hands are cuffed behind their back with bright orange handcuffs and there is a United States flag sticker on the back of her helmet. There are no marks or inscriptions, front or back.
African American  Search this
Art  Search this
Black geographies  Search this
Freedom  Search this
Identity  Search this
LGBTQ  Search this
Photography  Search this
Prisons  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, purchased through the American Women's History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Lola Flash
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
syzygy, the vision
Media Arts-Photography
Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 052
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture