RE:KONSTRIKSYON is the visual exploration of the methods in which culture is established, promoted, and preserved through both the expressive and creative works of its people. RE:KONSTRIKSYON serves to mirror; as in life – people of the global majority are simultaneously acknowledging the offerings and contributions of the past while continually laying new foundations.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
5:00 – 7:00 PM
UTSA Main Art Gallery
February 22-28, 2018
More info to come!
Black Kirby is a collaborative “entity” that is the creative doppelganger of artists/designers John Jennings and Stacey “Blackstar” Robinson. The manifestation of this avatar is an exhibition and catalog of primarily visual artworks-on-paper that celebrate the groundbreaking work of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby regarding his contributions to the pop culture landscape and his development of some of the conventions of the comics medium. Black Kirby also functions as a highly syncretic mytho-poetic framework by appropriating Jack Kirby’s bold forms and revolutionary ideas combined with themes centered around AfroFuturism, social justice, Black history, media criticism, science fiction, magical realism, and the utilization of Hip Hop culture as a methodology for creating visual expression.
Stanford W. Carpenter, PhD, is a Cultural Anthropologist and Comic Artist. He describes his artistic and scholarly work as “explorations into how people harness stories to transform their ideas about the world into things in the world that become the means through which people imagine identity, kinship, and community.” He conducts ethnographic research on media organizations; creators and related media professionals; and issues related to identity within organizations and creative teams. He is the creator of My EthnoSurreal Life, an online comic strip featuring essays and iPhone cartoons. He is the co-creator Critical Front, a collaborative project with Patricia Williams (Columbia University), John Jackson (University of Pennsylvania), Sheri Parks (University of Maryland), and Ben Vinson (Georgetown University) to create and use superhero alter egos, cartoons, and action figures to address culture and politics. He is currently working on ethnographic monograph that looks at the construction of identity in comics from the perspective of comic book creators and a graphic novel based on a series of digital iPhone comics. He has taught courses in Anthropology, Comics, and Media Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Rhode Island School of Design, and University of Maryland College Park.
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga
“I have worked with sheet metal, strings, ropes, and recycled materials ever since I was a child growing up in Kenya. My grandmother and her friends were basket weavers. From them I learnt how to be creative using any materials that were available, mainly straws and shrubs known as migiyo.
At the University of Nairobi’s School of Design, I explored the dynamics of textile arts. In graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, I merged the old textile arts and imagery of Africa with contemporary techniques and materials. I explored the juxtaposition of material, color, and space, and experimented with various processes and methods.
I have lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas. I now live in San Antonio, Texas. There is no doubt that my American experience interacts with my Kenyan heritage and influences my art.”
Born in 1992, Nigerian-British photographer Juliana Kasumu focuses on exploring the contemporary significance of cultural traditions from West Africa. Using conscious imagery to highlight the interconnectivity of women, culture and fashion, her subject matter is chosen based on a quest for personal knowledge concerning issues related to Africa and its Diaspora. By interweaving cultural research and stunning portraitures, she is able to express critical ideas with the intent of educating her audience. Photographs by Kasumu have been exhibited for the use of raising awareness to less spoken narratives by black women.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication from Birmingham City University, Kasumu created an on-going series exploring traditional hair statements within the Yoruba tribe in West Africa. Images from the ‘Irun Kiko’ series have received international acclaim, most recently being awarded the Renaissance Photography Prize 2015 for Best Single Image and making the shortlist for the D&AD Next Photographer Awards. Irun Kiko, based on Kasumu’s final year dissertation, served as the springboard for her career as a visual artist. Kasumu is committed to researching and sharing ideas that promote West African culture through photography, publications and public programming.
In her most recent body of work, From Moussor to Tignon, Kasumu further expands on her cultural investigations from behind the lens. While serving as the 2016 Olaju International Artist-in-Residence, she has been able to develop both research and traditional, film developing techniques. Working towards reaching a larger audience of women sharing similar stories has been a driving force behind her creative direction. As a contemporary artist, Kasumu provides viewers the opportunity to engage with images that demystify preconceptions of black women and their bodies.
“I am interdisciplinary artist currently based out of San Antonio, Texas originally from the US-Mexico border. My creative body of work recalls ancient ritual practices that engage in anachronistic couplings of pre-colonial world concepts and contemporary cultural theory. Throughout my process, my corporeal presence attempts a locative terrestrial engagement for the sake of performance narratives, drawing on historical records of a land and using my body as a canvas to express personal anecdotes and/or socio-political commentary. Using my process of, “individuation through embodiment,” developed through studies in Jungian philosophy, I physically place myself in a mode of abstract worship as a way to connect to indigenous deities, totems, archetypes, and new mythic characters. I capture this process through self-portraiture, performance, installation, and video. The images and performances become vehicles for remnants of a lost spiritual history. Bringing them to the forefront of contemporary art likewise brings along education about pre-colonial mythologies, which can help reconstruct a cohesive and collective consciousness free from the imposition of imperialist dogma.”
Darian Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist. Cycling through various performing arts at a young age, including dance, ballet, painting, writing, and rapping, he found his love at the age of 11 in the Violin. He has since performed in all the major venues in San Antonio as a chorister, violinist, soloist, rock band musician, and orchestral musician. He has also toured the US, England, and China.
A highly active composer, Darian has had works for films, dance, and different instrumental ensembles commissioned and premiered. Highlights include having the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio premiere his string orchestra work Organic Genesis, and SA Artist Foundation Award Recipient Tamara Adira of Flamenco artist collective Arte y Pasión premiere his electro-acoustic piece Rumba | Water and Rock at multiple venues and concert halls around San Antonio. He has also worked extensively as an orchestrator for post-modern jukebox-esque band Sugar Skulls, and orchestral indie-rock band Deer Vibes.
As a performer, Darian is currently involved in five performing bands/ensembles. He plays a mixture of experimental electric violin, contemporary or classical acoustic violin, synths, keys, guitar, and sings lead or backup vocals for local groups Femina X, Deer Vibes, Sugar Skulls, Foreign Arm, and Arte y Pasión. A highlight was performing with Deer Vibes in an official SXSW showcase concert in 2016.
He has also started an electronic duo by the name Saturn Skies, in which both musicians test the limits of their abilities as composers, songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists.
His most recent endeavor has been studying photography and videography with the assistance of local artists in San Antonio. He performed Tezcatlipoca months after starting his work in the visual art world, and more recently was commissioned to create video art for Arte y Pasion’s performance during Luminaria in 2016.
Darian has studied violin with former San Antonio Symphony assistant concertmaster Matthew Zerweck, composition lessons with Curtis alumnus and Yosa Music Director Troy Peters, and Rudolph Palmer while he attended Mannes The New School for Music.
He then completed his degree in Music Composition and Philosophy as a Kemper Scholar at The University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. During his time at UIW, he studied violin with Austin Symphony principal second violinist Richard Kilmer and former San Francisco Symphony principal second violinist Daniel Kobialka, conducting with William Gokelman, and composition with James Syler. Assistance and invaluable advice in his visual arts endeavors has come from Daniela Riojas and Oscar Moreno. Darian has received his BA in Music and Philosophy at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Cloth Of Jegna is an inimitable cultured London-based African Designer. The inspiration for Jegna’s creativity derives from studying and experiencing Afrika’s many diverse, original, timeless & sacred cultures that were birthed in the cradle of humanity – in the continent that we affectionately know as ‘The Motherland’. This is specifically around the regions labeled ‘The Horn Of Africa’.
WHAT ARE JEGNA’S OBJECTIVES & WHAT DOES JEGNA DO?
Jegna’s objective is to connect Afrika & its diaspora through creative textile design. This objective is achieved by bringing us a feeling as well as a look of Afrika. We design original & timeless pieces by applying specialized painting techniques on the clothing, shoes & hats by hand. We use an array of tools like paintbrushes, branches from different trees & various minerals for ingenious effects – just as the indigenous people of those regions traditionally do.
WHAT DOES JEGNA REPRESENT?
Jegna takes magnificent pride in making unapologetic cultural statements with each original, authentic, timeless & masterful piece. Jegna’s motto is – “Bring The Water To The Desert”.
In short, it alludes to being original, finding a niche and bringing what needs to be brought as well as what hasn’t already been brung.
Daiquonne Lanier is a San Antonio native and proud graduate of Sanford Brown College. At an early age he discovered his love for fashion design and creativity through exposure to theater and powerhouse female role models. Lanier’s aesthetic has always emulated the effortlessness and sensuality of Valentino. The understanding of shape, championed by Balenciaga, and an eye for clean lines come together to form the Lanier woman, a look of sleek sophistication and poise. Lanier is the founder and creator of his clothing line since 2016 and was titled the Breakout Designer of the year at the 2017 San Antonio Fashion Awards. Lanier attributes his whimsical aesthetic and eye for romance to his love for story telling. Each collection has a narrative and something for then individual to connect with. The moment the wearer gets lost in a piece and becomes her truest self, is the apogee of the Lanier experience.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Kirsten Thompson is a Creative Director and Wardrobe Stylist located in San Antonio, Texas while working nationally and internationally. She has always had an eye for scale, color, and proportion and spent her youth dressing friends and family members. She studied Interior Design and Architecture but quickly discovered that her heart was in wearable art and the business and development associated with that world – in a word: Fashion.
The scope of her work includes personal shopping and image consulting for private clientele, including several celebrities, as well as portfolio development for established models as well as upcoming talent. Kirsten has worked production on fashion shows for companies such as Neiman Marcus, Sears, and KidFash Magazine . Spanning over 20 years, her career arc has also included working for venerable brands: Saks Fifth Avenue, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Theory. She also served as the Fashion Editor-At-Large for SA Monthly Magazine before going on to pursue other endeavors that include Fashion Writing and Editorial Styling.
Kirsten believes fashion is less about the commercial aspects and chooses to focus on its infinite potential for artistic expression. Her styling mantra insists that people should “Dress to express, because that is where the magic lies.” For Kirsten, fashion is both an art form and a mode of communication. She purposely transgresses the boundaries of architecture, sculpture, music, writing, dance, fashion to push wearable art to the limits of creativity.
A major focus of her work is to ensure positive representation of Black Men and Women in the industry. She makes it a point to mentor young models and designers of color because there is a noticeable absence of these groups being represented equally – and she is excited by the ways in which the landscape shifting in that regard within recent years. It is equally important to her that body positivity exists and she fosters and encourages the inclusion of models of various body types and sizes whenever possible.
As in all areas of her personal and professional life, she simply strives to: “Be the change”.