The Cartographer’s Conundrum

Sanford Biggers creates artworks that intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history to offer new perspectives for established symbols.

Artist Bio

The Cartographer’s Conundrum is an installation, film and website inspired by artist, scholar and Afro-futurist John Biggers. A cousin of his subject, Sanford Biggers’s goal is to both study and expand the emerging genre of Afro-futurism, which engages science-fiction, cosmology and technology to create a new folklore of the African Diaspora. Biggers begins by traveling through western Africa along the same route John Biggers followed in the 1950s, meeting with colleagues and family members along the way. In its final form, this project includes a new multimedia installation by Sanford Biggers, as well as an exhibition, lecture, catalog and website chronicling John Biggers’s contributions to Afro-futurism.

Award Year


Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers

New York, NY

A Los Angeles native currently working in New York, Sanford Biggers creates artworks that integrate film/video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music and performance. He intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols. Through a multi-disciplinary formal process and a syncretic creative approach he makes works that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are conceptual.

His works have appeared in venues worldwide including Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. Recently he has had solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, SculptureCenter, Mass MoCA, Ringling Museum and Massimo De Carlo Gallery, and his concept group, Moon Medicine, has performed at Art Basel and the Hammer Museum. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin, Creative Time, New York Percent for the Arts, and New York Foundation for the Arts, among others, and he is the recipient of the Greenfield Prize, the William H. Johnson Prize and the Lambent Fellowship in the Arts. Biggers is Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Visual Arts program and a board member of CUE Foundation.

Biggers received the Heinz Award in 2021.