Angela Davis #2
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
Iris Kensmil portrays important figures from the Black emancipation movement. ‘I consciously use a European way of painting light. It gives a certain presence to the people I portray, with which I wish to respectfully emphasize their importance.’ Presented here is Angela Davis, activist, politician, academic, and author, for whom the US prison system has been a key point of protest. Since her first actions and her imprisonment in the 1970s, she remains an extremely relevant activist.
-2017 exhibition text The Way Beyond Art
For anyone queer and coloured, Angela Davis may be an icon even though she never fought directly for LGBTQIA+ rights. As a Black lesbian activist woman, Davis always made sure her voice was heard. What is very striking about Kensmil’s depiction is the imposing hair, which takes up more than the half of the artwork. Nowadays, people with afro hair are still being stigmatized. All of Kensmil’s work reflects Davis, as it is inspiring, powerful and empowering for people of colour. This Dutch artist with Surinamese roots may identify with the model she paints. Perhaps you are familiar with Audre Lorde, Hermina Huiswoud or Octavia Butler. If not, then welcome to Kensmil’s pantheon comprising talented people of colour who have been left in the margin of the art historical canon.
%>Tags: gaze, ageism, embodiment, divides, agency
Does this page contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.