September 2018: Penda Diakité & Andy Kennedy
Penda Diakité is a collage/mixed media artist. She grew up between Mali, West Africa & Portland, OR. As a result, she meshes the vibrant colors and patterns of her Malian side with influences of her urban upbringing. Her artwork is a reflection of these blended cultures, as her pieces often illustrate a visual commentary on historical West African tradition and how it co-exists among popular media’s portrayal of people of color. Her mixed media work is usually comprised of a mixture of spray paint, acrylic and collage (a blend of modern and classic mediums which reflect the traditional and contemporary theme of her work). She literally cuts and pieces together old and new aspects of her cultures, each art piece telling a story about identity & humankind. She often adds her experiences as a bi-cultural woman of color into her word.
Andy Kennedy crafts portraits in clay. His busts look different at different times, expressions change with parallax perspective. This comes from working in a style of cartoonish, primal impressionism, but also from the clay body itself. “Clay has a dynamic structure that flows and settles and flows. The observer can be directly involved with their own energy, biography and sensitivity. This dance becomes solid and the layers of glaze become a play of light. When I give myself space and permission, there’s endless possibility. Clay becomes a vessel for everything ugly and beautiful in my world resolving into objects that I can share. I’m worrying less about my place in the world, as my artwork is flourishing. The more complicated things are getting, I am letting go of control and presumption, becoming a clearer witness. The clay figures seem at times to be the work of a madman, and I think this is a good thing. The glazing process has become a practice of multiple perspectives converging in the studio and then totally surrendering to the unknown, and somehow this means my glazing is better than ever.