Kenya (Robinson) is the 2018 Recipient of the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art

Kenya robinson, modern times, 1936

ORLANDO, June 5, 2018 – The Orlando Museum of Art is pleased to announce that Kenya (Robinson) has been awarded as the recipient of the 2018 Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. Glen Gentele, the Director and CEO of the Museum, made this announcement on June 1, 2018 at the Florida Prize Exhibition Preview Party.

OMA Curator Hansen Mulford says, “We are delighted that Kenya (Robinson) was chosen as this year’s award recipient. Given the exceptionally strong slate of artists in the exhibition, I know that the jurors had a challenging task. Kenya’s work expressed powerful messages that are particularly relevant to the moment.” The 2018 Florida Prize jurors were Nelda Damiano, Danny Olda and Alex Rich. Danny Olda states, “As usual, the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art gives me good reason to be optimistic about the state of the arts in Florida. All of the artists delivered impressive work making for a great exhibition. Kenya's work is engaging in a way that great art always is. Her work is at once playful and provocative, personal and thought-provoking.”

Kenya (Robinson) is an American multimedia artist whose work includes performance, sculpture and installation. A native of Gainesville, Florida, (Robinson)'s work depicts themes of privilege and consumerism, while investigating the role of blackness as the delineator of politically identifiable whiteness in the United States. The #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET, a project that began in 2013, is a work in which (Robinson) imagined a small, corporate-clad, plastic figure as a talismanic reminder that “white male heteronormative supremacy is an idea not restricted to phenotype, gender or nationality.” In fact, (Robinson) suggests that, “the -ism is insidious because we each believe in it a small amount, creating a dense network to be challenged internally, and as a societal task.” In addition to this conceptual practice, (Robinson)’s sculptural work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as a small selection of works on paper, that are part of the Deutsche Bank Collection.

Alex Rich says: "Kenya’s work is important. It takes a novel and memorable approach to the perennial, historical, and — sadly even here in 2018 — still too relevant theme of white straight male privilege. Any viewer who takes the time to engage with her work will be left reconceptualizing his or her own place in that hierarchy of gender and race and in the fitful journey toward inclusiveness. The artists in the exhibition demonstrate the wealth of talent in the rising generation of contemporary art. Without exception, every artist in the show grapples successfully with the essential role of the artist as a communicator of both personal and collective visions of the world. Whether working with found objects or graphite or in photography or glyphic mark-making, all ten artists have used their work in some manner to explore history and memory, pulling viewers into their mini-shows-within-the-show in visceral yet vastly different ways.”

“It is wonderful and inspiring to see the work of so many talented artists. I am sure visitors will feel engaged and excited by the brilliance and forcefulness of the works on display. Congratulations to all artists, and to the Orlando Museum of Art and its patrons for supporting such an important initiative,” says Nelda Damiano.

(Robinson) is the recipient of $20,000 (the “Florida Prize”) which is generously underwritten by Gail and Michael Winn who also provided funds for honoraria to each of the artists included in the exhibition. The other extraordinary artists in the exhibition are Carlos Betancourt (selected as the “People’s Choice” award recipient), Brooks Dierdorff, Rafael Domenech, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Ya Levy La’Ford, Jason Lazarus, Glexis Novoa, Kerry Phillips and Jack Stenner. The “People’s Choice” was voted on during the Florida Prize Exhibition Preview Party by the guests and the winner was given $2,500 by the sponsor Tequila Herradura.

Support for the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art is provided by the Rita and Jeffrey Adler Foundation, Anonymous, Mr. R.J. Santomassino, Dr. and Mrs. H.E. Gross, Jim and Terry Mahaffey, Daisy and Jan Staniszkis, Terry Snow, Bloomingdale’s Orlando, Sam Flax and Tesla. The exhibition will be on display through August 19, 2018.

For press images or additional information, please contact Michael Caibio, Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations Manager, at mcaibio@omart.org or at 407.896.4231 ext. 233.

Image credit: Kenya (Robinson), Modern Times, 1936-, 2017-2018, inflatable, plastic figures, chicken wire, foam, artificial turf, stell dressmaker pins, Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. © Kenya (Robinson). Image courtesy of the Orlando Museum of Art.

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The Orlando Museum of Art’s mission is to inspire creativity, passion and intellectual curiosity by connecting people with art and new ideas. The Museum is located in the Loch Haven Cultural Park just minutes away from downtown. For more information, please visit www.omart.org.