Week 9 Artist Conversation: Kimberly Morris 

Artist: Kimberly Morris

Exhibition: What’s Mine is Yours, What’s Real is Not

Media: Synthetic Weave Hair, Human Hair

Galley: California State University, Long Beach School of Arts Gatov East Gallery

Website: KimMorrisScuplture.com

Instagram: @kim_morris_sculpture

Kimberly Morris is a graduate at California State University, Long Beach who is pursuing a MFA in Sculpture. Kimberly received her BFA in Painting at California State University, Northridge. Kim is from the Los Angeles area of Lemerit Park, CA and now lives in the Baldwin Hills area, not too far from where she grew up. She went to school in the Marina Del Rey area, where she was in a diverse community just in resembles of her family, who is very diverse as well. She is mixed with white and black, but does not classify herself as neither.

I’m American.

Her art explores the blurred lines of  racism and humanist. Kimberly grew up being made fun of because she was not like the “average” black girl, because she acted white. In middle school she was sent to a school in Inglewood, CA where she was a victim of hate crimes with her own race. This was Kimberly’s first time attending a school that was predominantly African-Americans. These children would cut her hair because they claimed it was too long, she was harassed because they claimed she was white and she thought she was better than them, and other absurd accusations. That would be offensive to where she comes from and how her family was raised.

She mentions that the color of your skin is irrelevant to an individual or a body of people, because the only thing that makes us unique is where we are born because of the cultural standings behind it. The separation of race as she sees it is unnecessary and it shows the ignorance that the society holds. The way that African-Americans are portrayed in the media is not what being black is and this what she addresses. The media paints blacks to be a collective a people are intimidating and this is not the fact. It also illustrates us to be either black and dumb or ugly and smart, this belittles the black community and later gives the community no hope. The media does not show the hard work that we do as a African-American societ, but she says the it is seen as a ghetto society. We discussed how for many years African-Americans have been pushed to the bottom and not matter how many people or things “change” the all remains the same. She said, “nothing changed but the date.”

These pieces illustrate the act of coded switching that many African-Americans have to adjust to to keep up with the “American”, “European” look that is acceptable in the eyes of future employers, colleagues, and other people who can be typically bias toward the black culture.  People are judged by the way they look everyday and she wants to break the silence for black artist and African-American identity that many are afraid to show because of society’s “rules”. Many of Americans of this generation are so wrapped up of colorism within their own culture because of society. This hatred of colorism towards their own race  blinds them from prosperity and rgus us what Kim wants to address and break.

Kim’s sculptures are rather long and large in scale and very texture based. They also hold everyday objects that many people are familiar with and can relate to in using in their own experience. Her work presents the black community and identity through the layers and texture of hair that os presented and creating a long scale that make people think and possibly relate to.

I was blown away by Kim’s words about her concept of art and her story, it was pretty refreshing to talk to someone with a similar perspective on the human race and overall “race”, her art speaks for the black community and it speaks to society in many ways that some may not be able to even realize or take the time to even think about. Kimberly’s art and her words made me really think and reconsider the certain things I should change and strive for in my life. This is one of my FAVORITE exhibitions yet!



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