New exhibit showcases indigenous Afro-Mexicanos through photos

Hakeem Khaaliq and Queen Muhammad Ali. (submitted photo)

Phoenix’s monOrchid Gallery kicked off the work of award-winning husband and wife filmmaker and photography team, Hakeem Khaaliq and Queen Muhammad Ali, with an opening reception Thursday, March 2.

The exhibit, “‘Encuentro Phoenix’ Invisible Mexico” can be viewed at the gallery, 214 E. Roosevelt Street.

Coming straight from their world debut of #Bars4 Justice at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of Doc Fortnight, 2017: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media; the couple has chosen Phoenix as the next stop on their worldwide exhibition tour, according to a press release.

“Encuentro Phoenix” Invisible Mexico is Arizona’s first anthropological interactive digital augmented reality exhibit.

The exhibit showcases the isolated descendants of the African-Diaspora in Mexico through a collection of augmented photographs shot in Central America, revealing a side of Mexico most people are unaware of, the release stated.

The photographs depict the people who reside on the country’s rural Pacific and Gulf Coasts referred to as Afro-Mexicanos.

The exhibition consists of photographs, video, audio, augmented reality visualized using IOS and Android devices and an installation showcasing the life of these indigenous peoples.

La Familia (submitted photo)

From living on remote islands in the South Pacific to the study of cannibalism, to working with poor Mayan coffee farmers and now producing the untold history of blacks in Mexico, Hakeem and Queen are pioneering a new style of documentary filmmaking, using immersive storytelling to raise awareness and inspire action for pressing global issues, the release stated.

Their work has raised awareness about hip-hop advocacy and historic inaccuracies affecting indigenous and black communities.

They have a unique method of tracking these issues with a fresh, youthful approach.

Mr. Khaaliq and Ms. Ali have directed films in seven countries, taught at several universities including ASU, UofA, Wayne State University and Confucius Institute in Beijing, China.

This event has been made possible in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, 100 Black Men of Phoenix and YoSoy. It is in collaboration with Associate Professor in Africana Studies, Dr. Bryan Carter, PhD and his students at the University of Arizona.

The gallery is open daily and exhibitions may be viewed during business hours. For more information, visit

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