Bay Area Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle Responds to the Disappearance Of Young Black Women in New Solo Exhibition

The Retrieval is the first solo exhibition at the San Francisco Arts Commission’s new Main Gallery

three abstract black figures

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries (SFAC Galleries) is pleased to announce The Retrieval, a solo exhibition of works by Bay Area artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle. On view February 16 through April 7, 2018, this first solo exhibition at the new SFAC Main Gallery features drawings and sculpture that respond to the disappearance of Black women and female-identifying women due to various abuses and the current human trafficking trade.

According to Hinkle, “There’s often a community that knows about women and girls engaged in prostitution or being trafficked, and yet how does accountability enter into the consciousness of teachers, neighbors, shop owners, etc…? 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 these questions of 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. Over 100 drawings from the artist’s ongoing The Evanesced series, which focuses 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, colorful, textile-based 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 SFAC Galleries is thrilled to support this important project at a moment in time when making the invisible visible is paramount. Hinkle’s exhibition, while seductively gorgeous, challenges us all to be accountable and active witnesses, eyes wide open, to women and girls in danger. In 2014 the National Crime Information Center cited that 64,000 Black women in the United States are missing. The Retrieval responds to this staggering statistic. Throughout the run, our public programs will support dialogue around how artists and activists illuminate critical issues related to race and gender today.” says SFAC Galleries Director Meg Shiffler.

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 and develop over seconds and 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 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 exhibition 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).

The SFAC Galleries has commissioned an essay from Malika Imhotep, a writer who engages black femme performance aesthetics, labor and cultural production throughout the African Diaspora. This essay 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.

The Retrieval
A solo exhibition by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle

February 16 – April 7, 2018
San Francisco Arts Commission Main Gallery
401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 126, San Francisco, CA 94102
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Opening Night Reception
Friday, February 16, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.

Artist’s Talk
Un-Portraits and Kentrification: Talking to Ghosts

Thursday, March 8, 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

Closing Performance
The Retrieval: Embodied Disappearance

Saturday, April 7, 5:30pm – 7:00 p.m.

Other Online Resources

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

April 17
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Full Arts Commission Meeting

May 06
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

April 24
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online