Kindred was an art exhibition that I co-curated with Tia Blassingame. Kindred presents a selection of art and design work from artists who identify as being of African descent. The assembled graduate, undergraduate, and alumni students are among the 83 students on the RISD campus (during the 2014-2015 academic year) who share this African ancestry. The artists featured in the show demonstrate a cross section of ethnic affiliations which include Black, African-American, African American-European,Haitian, Trinidadian-Puerto Rican,Jamaican-Japanese, Caribbean-Filipino, Guinean-American, Nigerian-American, and Swedish-Ugandan. The students work in and outside their formal disciplines to highlightthe complexities of race, identity politics,gender stereotypes, homosexuality, religious freedom, Afro-futurism and the connections between nature, physical objects and the human condition.
Over a 6 month period, we engaged in a process of meeting artists, conducting studio visits and selecting artwork. Through our interviews we began to gain a greater understanding of how race and identity informed and inspired the students’ creative process. Some artists addressed the marginalization felt when race was at the forefront of their work and the cultural implications of privileging race as it could impact their reach to a wider audience.
Through the creation of the branding for the show, wall labels, posters, digital graphics, exhibition catalogs to a coordinated panel discussion with artist talks, I worked to provide an art historical, cultural, and institutional context to the exhibit, in order to create a deeper understanding of themes that were explored in the show.