Tonight, I finally made my way to the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s the latest, talk-of-the-town installation and well, that’s because it’s brilliant. It is Wiley’s signature to utilize traditional European portraiture to portray conventional images of black men and women and his “A New Republic” exhibit is right on time. In an age of the perpetual propagation of a harsh and darkened black people (the other darkened), Wiley’s response to the biases on race, class and gender is a unique medium that paints (pun intended) a much brighter and entitled image than the prejudicial mainstream.
Wiley’s works juxtapose seemingly innocent images of black men and, a recent addition to his works, women onto grandiose oil canvas paintings, gold leaf mounts and even stained glass with each piece intricately detailed down to the delicate outline around the flowers. He takes care to capture his subjects in their natural element whether they are wearing sundresses and suits or sneakers and a hoody (hoodies up). With the rarity of suit-wearing, sister-hugging, home-relaxing, family-loving, and everyday, beautiful black individuals portrayed as such in the media, Wiley’s exhibit shifts the focus of black culture that way via his magnificent artistic talents. Ain’t black beautiful?
Oh, P.S. I snuck in some pics of the other great works I checked out in the BK Museum tonight.