Miatta Kawinzi

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Artist Statement

In my multidisciplinary practice, I seek to reconcile the sky and the ground, the hard and the soft, the internal and the external. I aim to re-code darkness as generative.

My work proposes a belief in the strength of the delicate. It is a belief in the possibility embedded within the pliable. It is a refusal of fixity; for if nothing is fixed, then it can be changed; rocks softened, weight shifted. Fragile ladders mentally traversed to grasp at the beyond.

This work is concerned with untangling the spaces between flatness and dimensionality.
It claims multi-dimensionality. It encourages the viewer to encounter it from multiple vantage points both physical and mental. Much of this is about suspension. Weight and weightlessness. The coordinates of the unknown.

I have been focused on the language of hands as an extension of our bodies into space through which we shape, make, touch, feel, sense, probe, praise, and labor. I am working with the connotations of the reach as a gesture that can mean both to pull toward and to sway away from something. Hands extended, raised upwards.
Hands, up. Don’t. Shoot.
Up: surrender.
Up: assertion.

The body bends, sinks into the surface, lifts out. Carves a corner in which to exist. Is pushed into a corner. Claims it, makes a home there, a shelter, tent. Extends beyond its prescribed demarcation, trails light to illuminate that which has been placed below.
In this work, the verb supplants the noun.
What happens when we lift?



Born in 1987 in Nashville, TN
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY


Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY
MFA, Studio Art

SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico
SOMA Summer Program: Georges Bataille’s Theories of Excess & the Mexican Baroque

Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
BA, Interdisciplinary Art & Cultural Theory
Study abroad: Super 8 Filmmaking & Transnational Migration & Diaspora in Paris, France


Harlem Postcards, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
-revel-, Kunstraum, Brooklyn, NY
MFA Thesis Exhibition, Hunter College, 205 Hudson Street Gallery, New York, NY

Power, Protest & Resistance, Skylight Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Solar Anus, SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico
After Afropolitan, Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn, NY
Translations, Feldenheimer Gallery at Reed College, Portland, OR

Small is Beautiful, Flowers Gallery, New York, NY
Some Bodies, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa
Whitney Houston Biennial, 20 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY
Honest Bodies, Windows on Amsterdam Gallery & Project Reach, New York, NY

Neon Birdsong, Schlosserei, Basel, Switzerland
Groupshow, Basement, Basel, Switzerland
Traces from iaab, Dock, Basel, Switzerland

Am I Phthalo Blue?, 3rdEye(Sol)ation Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (solo)
(dis)located, Art for Change Gallery, New York, NY

The Poetiques of the Fragment, Harold F. Johnson Gallery, Amherst, MA (solo)
Geographies of Space, Clemente Soto Vélez Lower East Side Gallery, New York, NY


90s Child, Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, CA
FILMIDEO 2015, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

New Media Showcase, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2012, Medulla Art Gallery & The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival, Kumble Theater, Brooklyn, NY

New Filmmakers, Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY


2016- gatherin’ voice, 205 Hudson Street Gallery, New York, NY
2015- Sobre la presentación/On presentation, Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Mexico City, Mexico
2014- howdoyoufindeachotherinthedark?, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa
2012- Rashaad Newsome’s Shade Compositions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA


2015- Hunter College Cisneros Scholarship for SOMA
2014- Kossak Travel Grant
2013 – 15-Hunter College Scholarship & Welfare Fund Award
2007 – 10-Hampshire College Arturo Schomburg Scholarship
2009-Hampshire College Presidential Grant

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE (upcoming)
Beta-Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Itinerant Seminar (upcoming)
Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa
International Exchange & Studio Program Basel (iaab), Basel, Switzerland
2011 – 12
Flux Factory, New York Community Trust Fellowship, New York, NY

Interview. Muchas Cosas. Huizar, Isauro. 11 May, 2015.
Featured Video: Star Spangz. Infinity’s Kitchen Experimental Literary Journal. Vol. 7. Online Edition. 28 August, 2014. <http://infinityskitchen.com/star-spangz/>

2013 – present
The Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum Educator, New York, NY.
Navigating Power & Privilege, Panelist, The Queens Museum, Queens, NY.
Open Engagement – POWER Conference, Presenter & workshop facilitator as part of The Hidden Curriculum, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA.
The Artist’s Institute, Curatorial Fellow, New York, NY.
EMERGE, Presentation & Artist Talk, Dwyer Cultural Center with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York, NY.