The figures in “Love is an Open Door” seem to represent the resilience of relationship. There is no door between the female and male figures, to emphasize the strength of their individuality, Kisa places both on pedestals. A wooden instrument serves as a frame for the two. Does it represent the music they make together? Though the two gaze serenely from their perch, Kisa interjects humor by nesting a bird on her male figures’ head.
Grace Kisa was born in Nairobi, Kenya as the oldest of three girls. She describes her upbringing as living in a global community because she was raised surrounded by Westerners, East Indians—many other cultures. She became interested in art as a child and recalls growing up with paintings in her home created by family artists. Kisa loved art classes at school and carried her love for art home. Her mother bought art supplies to encourage her artistry. Her father, an economist, worked various jobs that allowed Grace and her family to live a life steeped in culture.
She moved to Ethiopia with her family at the age of eight and studied at an American school. It was in Ethiopia that Kisa experienced her creative awakening. After two years her family moved to the United States and settled in McLean, Virginia.
She was accepted to the Art Institute of Atlanta and majored in Advertising Design later landing a job at Graphic Du Jour where she created original reproductions on a daily basis. The position helped to sharpen her creative skills and after 3 years of honing her skills, Kisa left the company. Her work with the company Arts by Todd allowed her to travel to art shows and trade shows including to the New York Art Expo to sell her work. She participated in her first group show at age 25, and at 26 had a solo exhibition where she sold her first painting for $2500.
As a photographer, painter, sculptor, designer, stylist and make-up artist, she is driven to produce imagery inspired by the avant-garde. Her recent sculpture projects were inspired by a photography series she is working on with Maurice Evans called, “The New Africans.” The series, which portrays Africans in a futuristic manner, is styled by Kisa.
The phenomenal and thriving artist Lina Iris Viktor will present her first major museum exhibit at The New Orleans Museum of Art, opening this fall. Titled Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred, the installation will be on display from October 5th, 2018 through January 6th, 2019.
A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred will feature an entirely new body of work created by Viktor that investigates the narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of Liberia. Throughout the exhibit, the artist reimagines the rich history of Liberia’s colonial past. “Liberia appears in Viktor’s re-imagining as a kind of paradise lost, and as a cautionary tale,” said Allison Young, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of Contemporary Art. “At the same time, her work transcends this narrative, revealing how examples of visual culture—from Dutch Wax fabrics to national emblems to gestures in the history of portraiture—exist as remnants of these colonial histories.”
Based in New York, the British-Liberian artist is highly known for her luxurious large-scale paintings and installations that are adorned with gold and include references to both modern and traditional West African culture.
“NOMA is pleased to present Lina Iris Viktor’s exhibition, and to foreground a lesser-known history of which the American South was a part,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “In this series, Viktor offers her unique perspective on a complex and multifaceted history.”
Programs related to the exhibition feature conversations led by Lina Iris Viktor and Allison Young, a film series, and a special talk with Viktor and curator Renée Mussai. For more information, please visit NOMA READ MORE........