A solo exhibition by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle
Opening Reception: Friday, February 16, 6:00 PM -8:00 PM
The Retrieval, a solo exhibition of works by Bay Area artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, features a large body of works that respond to the disappearance of Black women and female-identifying women due to various abuses and the current human trafficking trade in the Bay Area and beyond. The artist asks, “There’s often a community that knows about women and girls engaged in prostitution or being trafficked? How do we ghost these women/girls and how does society at large ghost them? What one sees and what one does not want to see is crucial to the investigation this exhibition is undertaking.”
The Retrieval responds to how we perceive, comprehend and react to these erasures as removed spectators or actively involved witnesses with new work from two distinct bodies of work. Drawings from the artist’s ongoing The Evanesced series focus on the erasure of Black women from the African Diaspora, will take over the Gallery’s walls. Holding court in the center of the space is a new large-scale, textile-based, healer-figure inspired by Nigerian Egungun festival costumes. The work is a new addition to the artist’s research and educational platform for a contested geography and culture named Kentrifica.
The haunting Evanesced figures visually manifest as “Smoke Women” who come to the fore, emerging into light or are obscured in the frame in a cloud of fog or flow of water. These energetic and often abstract ink drawings are made with handmade brushes while the artist dances to music from the African Diaspora. Forms develop over seconds or days, as Hinkle pulls from her research, personal experiences, and knowledge of the female form. The Evanesced series is also inspired by the #SayHerName movement.
For Hinkle, the Kentrifican figure has a distinct role to heal and empower people who are soft-targets for manipulation and abuse. As she explains, “This healer figure is able to enter their psyches to retrieve the parts of the self that have succumbed to being victimized,” while it can also “shine a light on larger societal issues that make these circumstances the harsh realities that they are, essentially bringing awareness and shifting the minds of policy makers, traffickers and community members.”
The SFAC acknowledges that The Retreival carries forward the momentum of important recent exhibitions including The Black Woman is God at SOMArts Cultural Center, When and Where I Enter, Angela Hennessy’s solo exhibition at Southern Exposure, and Hinkle’s solo exhibitions Who Among Us… at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (2015-16) and The Evanesced at Los Angeles’ California African American Museum (2017).
A commissioned essay by Malika Imhotep will be available in print at the exhibition and will be downloadable from our web site.
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is an interdisciplinary visual artist, writer and performer. Her practice fluctuates between collaborations and participatory projects with alternative gallery spaces within various communities to projects that are intimate and based upon her private experiences in relationship to historical events and contexts. A term that has become a mantra for her practice is the "Historical Present," as she examines the residue of history and how it affects our contemporary world perspective. Her artwork and experimental writing has been exhibited and performed at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Project Row Houses, The Hammer Museum, The Museum of Art at The University of New Hampshire, The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco and the Made in LA 2012 Biennial. Hinkle’s work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Artforum, Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Image: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, The Retrieval: Kentrifican Healer, 2018. Photo: Angelica Ekeke. Courtesy the Artist.