Do you ever sit back and reminisce about your childhood? Now take it a step further, do you remember the thoughts you had when you were a child, watching videos or tv shows or looking in the mirror? Well there is an artist out of Chicago that puts you right back into the nostalgic place. Chicago has always been a blk hub for anything art related and that hasn't changed. Keila Strong is a visual artist that takes a different approach to all things we loved as kids; she brings us right back into the goodness, and gives the newer generations a meaningful image to daydream about.
Keila Strong's latest exploration gives the spectators images of blk kids, and adults in peaceful ways. Strong transformed the mosaic medium by using items and materials that most little blk kids can relate to and ones that blk adults can remember from back in the day. If you look closely at the materials used, you can see a small glimpse of childhood memories. By using barrettes, bobos, hot wheels cars, Murray's etc., Strong's blk mosaics dive deep into the conversation of blkness and our culture. She drives home the self image plight that many young blk kids have and eventually keep when they become adults.
For so long, blk hair has been a conversation that just now (over the years) started to sound more like "I love my hair" "I want my hair natural" "I like my hair short" etc. The world hasn't always loved blk hair which in return has made many blk people feel shame and or disgust around what we naturally have. However, Strong's art gives us something to smile proudly about. Keila chose to colorfully highlight blkness through a universal experience of sitting in a chair or on the floor (for hours) in between our mom's legs, hearing a sizzle from the flatiron, eco styler slicked onto our edges, hearing the clip of a barrette, and then some. Or a barber chair for the first, being nervous to walk to the chair, *foap* the cap goes on, and you hear the clippers starting and as you you get your hair picked out, and adult conversations continue, this was a moment that solidified your blkness and marked your journey into the culture, the community. Blk hair has always been more than important to blk culture. It’s the way we make statements, show creativity, innovation, become trendsetters, but most importantly, that’s how we remain true to ourselves. Keila Strong's mosaic art gives us space to love, celebrate and cherish a piece of our blkness that renders a path to healing. Getting in touch with not just yourself but your inner child as well. This type of art creates a beautiful and full world for young blk kids today. To relish in their experiences, and be connected to a culture that is forever thriving and embellishing our unique superpowers. Today its hair, tomorrow it could be the way we dance. Keila Strong's art tells us that we are free to love who we are and be us unapologetically. Thank you for your expression. Thank you for being a vessel we need.
MyBlkIs barrettes and bobos
MyBlkIs Blue Magic & Murray’s
MyBlkIs hot wheel cars
MyBlkIs blk kids laughing