“Before it can adopt a positive voice, freedom requires an effort at disalienation.”
—Frantz Fanon (b. 1925, d. 1961)
Kavi Gupta | 219 N. Elizabeth St. Chicago, IL. 60607
Opening reception: Saturday, June 18, from 5 – 9 PM
Kavi Gupta presents SKIN + MASKS, a group show curated by Vic Mensa, Grammy-nominated rapper, author, singer, visual artist, activist, NAACP Image Awards nominee, and founder of SaveMoneySaveLife, a Chicago-based, philanthropic non-profit organization operating at the intersection of art, entertainment, and sustainable social change.
Operational since 2018, SaveMoneySaveLife has forwarded initiatives in violence prevention and supported youth arts programs in response to evolving community needs. Kavi Gupta will donate all proceeds from SKIN + MASKS to SaveMoneySaveLife for use in creating infrastructure and providing resources for young artists in Accra, Ghana. “Ghana is the hub of fine art in West Africa right now,” says Mensa, whose family is Ghanaian. “What’s needed is resources.”
Mensa’s creative and political work centers the need for critical thinking, honest self-expression, and public truth-telling. He first became aware of the disparities that exist between the rich and poor in America while growing up in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He learned to express his thoughts and feelings through the arts.
For his curatorial debut with Kavi Gupta, Mensa deploys a seminal text by Antilles-born author Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) as a foundation for a group art exhibition aimed at decolonizing Black art beyond the politics of visibility.
SKIN + MASKS will center work by a range of contemporary artists who, like Fanon, are striving to understand and express the meaning of Black identity not from the vantage point of White gaze, but from the perspective of individual realities, including: Sherman Beck, Andrea Coleman, Joshua Donkor, Ndidi Emefiele, Jewel Ham, Erol Harris, Armani Howard, Dada Khanyisa, Mia Lee, Muna Malik, Kenrick McFarlane, Josie Love Roebuck, Jahlil Nzinga, Troy Scat, Foster Sakyiamah, Elizabeth Sakyiamah, Sydnie Jimenez, Terron Cooper Sorrells, Thelonious Stokes, Nikko Washington, Darryl Westly, and Gerald Williams.