Art Island | Iris Kensmil
Madé van Krimpen is honered to present an Solo by Iris Kensmil at Art Island, Ijmuiden.
26th – 28th May 2023
Book your ticket via art-island.nl
Friday, May 26th: 15:00 - 22:00
Saturday, May 27th: 11:00 - 22:00
Sunday, May 28th: 11:00 - 20:00
The Amsterdam-based artist Iris Kensmil from Surinamese background, born in 1970, depicts Black people and their history from a feminist and empowering point of view. Through the language of art in the form of paintings, installations and drawings, she aims to create recognition for Black writers, musicians, and activists. Kensmil presents them as individuals, as the active intellectuals they are. This way, she breaks away from tradition with how Black people, especially women, have been presented in past paintings.
Kensmil’s artistic journey has been marked by achievements like the Venice Biennale in 2019 where she represented the Netherlands. Kensmil's work is featured in renowned institutions like Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and has been part of various exhibitions worldwide, addressing important themes such as Black identity, community, and historical revision.
Catalogue with the works.
We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue
Iris Kensmil's ongoing series "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue" honours Black musicians. “ The title comes from a song by Curtis Mayfield as this work is a homage to Black Soul, Blues and Reggae musicians and their vinyl records. Blues, soul and reggae are entertainment. However, as a Black person, you can also hear back the experience of your world in these genres. My father used to play a lot of soul music at home, and such music has remained important to me. Each of the singers included has in some way or another performed a protest song.”
For Art Island eight of the installations 48 drawings are on display.
Dungeon and Gate
In 2012-2013, Iris kensmil participated in an artist exchange program of Nubuku Foundation Accra, Ghana and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “During my stay in Ghana I visited also a series of slave-castles. It made a great impression on me. At that time I made works on other aspects of this journey (...) In 2020 I felt strong enough to paint this history too, inspired by my own photographs.”
Dungeon depicts the dungeon in which male slaves were held in Cape Coast Castle. The painting Gate represents the exit to the ships from the Elmina castle in Elmina, Ghana. Through these paintings, Kensmil aims to evoke a collective memory of these spaces, intertwined with their enduring architectural presence.
"Lezende" is a painting that takes inspiration from the installation "Study in Black Modernity" created for the Van Abbemuseum. Central to the installation were carefully selected books exploring the theme of Black Modernity. Among the intriguing displays were charcoal drawings, including one depicting a woman engrossed in reading. The painting "Lezende" draws inspiration from this specific charcoal artwork