Vagner Whitehead


Originally from Brazil, Vagner Mendonça Whitehead has lived in metro Detroit since 2005. Vagner works with time-based and traditional media. He employs original, appropriated and researched multilingual texts, found and created imagery, their translations and his interpretations as allegorical devices that, through his art, reframe trans-cultural experiences vis-à-vis mass media and communication technologies.

Vagner has exhibited his work throughout the United States (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NY, OR, TX, VA, VT, WI), abroad (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland) and online, in solo and group exhibitions and in video and film festivals. He was an artist in residency at the Ragdale Foundation in 2002, a fellow at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2006, an artist in residency at Corazon, Argentina, in 2010, and at the Santa Fe Art Institute in 2012.

In addition to presenting his works in regional and national conferences and meetings, Vagner has been a visiting artist at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Lawrence, KS (2004); University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI (2005); San Jose State University, San Jose, CA (2006); Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL (2008); State University of New York-Cortland, Cortland, NY (2010); Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, IL (2010); and Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH (2011). For the academic year of 2011-12 Vagner served as the peer reviewer for the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College, in Chicago, IL. Other activities include curating thematic exhibitions, writing for varied publications, and blogging. His engagement with the New Media Caucus began in 2007; he is their current president.

Vagner earned a BFA (photography) from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 1995 and an MFA (creative photography and electronic inter-media) from the University of Florida - Gainesville in 2000. He is an Associate Professor of Art at Oakland University, where he heads its New Media specialization and chairs the Department of Art and Art History. He previously held an Assistant Professor of Photography position at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale.