Made In L.A. is coming to the Hammer, Barnsdall Park, LAXART, and billboards around town on June 2 and will showcase sixty emerging, under-recognized Los Angeles artists–one of which will be voted to win a $100,000 prize. In order to help you make an educated vote this summer, we’re counting down to Made In L.A. by showcasing each artist participating in the biennial.
Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work spans from drawing to performance to installation. Her art focuses on the intersection of race and power–and how that plays into society.
Hinkle is the youngest of the Made In L.A. artists, actually just now finishing up her MFA at CalArts this semester, where she will have a degree in Art and Critical Studies as well as Creative Writing. Her work seeks to explain and construct an identity and experience, specifically that of an African American woman. In an exhibition she did last year at CalArts, she was able to construct an entire gallery space into a place of education, the show entitled The Knee Grow In The New World. The exhibit saw pieces that ranged from a half afro, half blond wig for a “WOC [woman of color] to wear to the job interview,” a piece that sums up the idea of double consciousness quite effortlessly. Similarly, the gallery featured hand painted letters on the wall that built Ns atop of each other to scream “nigger,” a section of name tags of names given to the black body, a map of the “Knee Grow Brain,” and a chalkboard of the alphabet, each letter with corresponding words (sadly) associated with the African American experience. The work is quite remarkable.
Furthering this work, Hinkle also does a lot artwork surrounding the body, her work on hair being particularly notable (which she did a lot of before CalArts). “When Delilah cut Samson’s hair, he lost his power. Hair can also have a religious aspect. In some cultures, people in mourning don’t comb their hair,” she explained to The Trailer Trash Project, “There’s power in hair.” To explain this, she’s created various “site specific sculptures” around hair that uses braids to become horn like, her noting the tie between horns in animals and what they symbolize.
We’re excited to see what Hinkle brings to Made In L.A., especially since she is so young and already has such a specific artistic canon. From what we’ve heard, she will be doing a performance and is one of the artists who are not actually going to have work on display at any of the galleries. Her piece will be a concert with newly constructed instruments and music from Kentifrica, a continent where her histories converge, tying her history in Kentucky, where spent much of her childhood, with West African ancestral heritage.