Jear Keokham is an artist, writer, educator, and independent curator. He was born in Oakland, CA and currently splits his time living in Hayward and working in San Francisco. Keokham graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 with a BA in Art and a minor in the History of Art. From his studies, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, awarded a Certificate of Excellence in New Genres, and was recognized for High Honors for General Scholarship.

He was a Creative Dissent Fellow in Tania Bruguera's Escuela de Arté Util at YBCA in 2017, and a Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art at SFMOMA in 2018. Keokham has been included in exhibitions at the Worth Ryder Art Gallery in Berkeley, Southern Exposure and Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco, and various alternative spaces. He joined Root Division in 2018 and will use his time here to meditate on the transcultural landscape before transitioning into a graduate program.

Artist Statement: 
Keokham identifies as a neoliterati whose creative process involves the alchemy of ideas extracted from living nuances and written languages. His interests in philosophy, politics, and popular culture are also fermented into his visual lexicon where humor and poetic tropes surface as conveniences in some work while critical intensities are central others. At once pseudo in nature and pragmatic in means, Keokham seeks to marry elements of unlikely harmony to confront power structures, social stratifications, and symbolic positionalities. As an aspiring intersectional-cognoscenti and anti-purist, Keokham’s aesthetic is best described as a pastiche of theoretical schemas which are often realized through preexisting materials or speculative artifacts. Fundamentally, his guiding principle for art making is that his work needs not to be understood as art in order for it to function and that function is not necessarily a prerequisite for its existence.