Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: Grappling with the Historical Present
I have a love hate relationship with social media. Some days it's a grand distraction pulling me in a multitude of directions (seriously how many tabs can one person have open at once!?) and keeping me from making my deadlines. And on other days it provides the perfect amount of edutainment and inspiration.
Last week while strolling down the virtual streets of my happiest of social media places (also known as Instagram), I stumbled upon the artwork of interdisciplinary artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and pretty much had a perfect social media morning. I've been gawking at Kenyatta's work ever since.
Why do I like her work so much?
It could be the historical elements, it could be the design elements, it could be the colors, it could be the beautiful Black bodies that center her work or it could just be Kenyatta’s endearing Instagram post recounting her days of making art at her kitchen table with her toddler nipping at her hem.
All I know is that I’m totally into her work. And one doesn't need any heady intellectual explanation to totally be into someone’s artwork. If it moves you, it moves you.
That’s the beautiful thing about art. You can love it for a multitude of reasons or no reasons at all. Art doesn’t demand that you understand it. Art is there to make you feel something. If a piece of art gets you to pause and wonder then it’s done it’s job.
Kenyatta’s work - The Uninvited Series and her latest The Evanesced - has done its job. I see her work and simultaneously feel welcomed by her loose brush strokes and bursts of color and challenged by the historical imagery of colonized Black bodies.
Kenyatta’s mantra for her art practice is a grammatical term she’s cleverly appropriated called the "Historical Present.” She uses this framework to examine the “residue of history and how it affects our contemporary world perspective.”
But take a look for yourself. Tell me what you feel?