Oppression has always been an indisputable reality for people of color. Since its inception, this country has struggled to view us as whole human beings with full moral agency. The ownness has always been ours to prove our value and validate our worth, and even as the social climate becomes increasingly polarized, there is no place for self-pity and no room for fear. These moments are dependent on creatives, intellectuals, and artists to inspire, record, articulate, organize, sing, act, design and paint it. In the words of Toni Morrison, "This is precisely the time when artists go to work." With her release of 100 drawings about 100 missing African American women, L.A. based artist, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle answered that call.
Photo: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle/California African American Museum
With her notebook-size contour drawings, Hinkle uses her art to highlight the fact that thousands of black women go missing every year in the United States but their names and faces most often remain obscure. The drawings, currently featured at the California African American Museum, received rave reviews in the LA Times. The minimalist portraits displayed unframed and pinned to one wall in a grid, depict several distinct environments. Some show violence while others depict pain. The differing expressions and the occasional splash of color serve to humanize what is often glazed over as a generalized roster of "the missing." Hinkle's artwork conveys the fact that these are real women with interests and loved ones who miss them.
As we continue to fight erasure on all fronts, Hinkle's art beautifully asserts the obvious - that our lives do, in fact, matter.