SIR is based upon the conceptual premise of a name that undefines the defined. Hinkle meditates on historical perceptions of the black male body and its contextualizing geographies in relationship to her brother, an African-American man born in 1980 named Sir. SIR interrogates naming in the African Diaspora to examine collective historical trauma, transgressive perceptions of the black male body, forms of gendering, and familial modes of survival within a hostile geography.
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is an interdisciplinary visual artist, performer and writer. Her practice fluctuates between collaborations and participatory projects with alternative gallery spaces within various communities to projects that are intimate and based upon her private experiences in relationship to historical events and contexts. A term that has become a mantra for her practice is the "Historical Present," as she examines the residue of history and how it affects our contemporary world perspective. Her artwork and performances of experimental texts have been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Artforum, Art News, The Huffington Post and The New York Times.
SIR sears, a hard, multigenre memoir that—I had to remind myself—is no elegy. Or at least not for Sir, who lives uneasily with this book and his name. What visual artist and writer, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle mourns here are the Black lives that have been constrained or taken by white supremacy. The reality of that violence stalks every page of this powerful and trenchant debut, making it urgent that we understand what makes a family hope a name can act as magic word, as blessing, as demand for respect. Sir. Sir. Sir.
In Kenyata A.C. Hinkle’s SIR we are introduced to an incredible remix: part family narrative, part ethnography, part material ephemera, part eavesdrop, and all fire! SIR delves into the inner depths intergenerational motherhood, manhood, and what it means to raise-up and grow-up Black in America. An elongated meditation on the power, risk, and surge of naming; SIR is a timely and necessary intervention into how we conceive of ourselves in the context of a society that insists on telling us who we are.
The bleakness settles in over the barren dampness. Underneath it sits red soil, and underneath that sits something brewing. Something brewing something that will be something and nothing at the same time. The dankness settles in and permeates the souls of the disturbed grounds. Kentucky was known as the dark bloody land.
Granny’s phrase that she uttered in the car haunts me:
Kenyatta all that shit you read about slavery is true. Ain’t nothing changed but the cotton we pick.