Tavares Strachan, We Are in This Together (Multi), 2019, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the 2024 Collectors Committee, © Tavares Strachan, photo courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, photo credit: Jurate Veceraite

New Acquisition: Tavares Strachan’s “We Are In This Together”

July 1, 2024
Dhyandra Lawson, Andy Song Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art

Tavares Strachan forged the words “We Are In This Together" by hand in neon six feet wide. Collapsing the words into a continuous phrase, he complicates the experience of reading them: the shape of the letters histog resembles the word history.  

Strachan examines art, politics, science, and history through an interdisciplinary practice. He questions historical narratives that marginalize and obscure people’s experiences. Themes of invisibility, displacement, and loss are central to his work. In his neon sculptures, Strachan uses language to illuminate social conditions and beckon viewers’ contemplation. He has repeated the phrase “We Are In This Together” in a variety of sculptures and outdoor installations since 2018. This cobalt blue, gold, and green neon sculpture comes into LACMA’s collection through the support of members of the 2024 Collectors Committee. The work recalls political slogans such as “I am a Man” during the Civil Rights Movement or the more recent “Black Lives Matter.” Strachan’s poetry underscores humanity’s interdependence as essential for survival.  

Strachan was born in Nassau, Bahamas, and draws on the resources and community of his birthplace. In Nassau, he established an art studio and scientific research platform, B.A.S.E.C. (Bahamas Aerospace and Sea Exploration Center), and OKU, a not-for-profit community project encompassing an artist residency and exhibition spaces, a scholarship program, and after-school creative programs. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship (2022), Artist in Residence at the Getty Research Institute (2019–20), the Frontier Art Prize (2018), the Allen Institute’s inaugural artist-in-residence (2018). Strachan is also a LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab Artist Grant Recipient (2014). His work will be the subject of a forthcoming exhibition at the museum and in 2024 he will have a major exhibition, There Is Light Somewhere, at London’s Hayward Gallery.

During our 38th annual Collectors Committee Weekend (April 27–28, 2024), members of LACMA's Collectors Committee generously helped the museum acquire 10 works of art spanning a breadth of eras and cultures. Read more about all the acquisitions.