McMullen Celebrates Black Vanguards | Kimeze
In honor of Black History Month, we want to amplify the transformative work of our Black Vanguards that continue to inspire us through their unique eye and innate talent for storytelling. We love seeing how these visionaries pay homage to the profound influence of other Black visionaries seamlessly blending heritage with innovation, as they rewrite the story of creativity for a vibrant future.
Discover the works of these Black Vanguards all month long and witness the beauty of how their storytelling becomes a powerful conduit that transcends generations. We're excited to spotlight the incredible work of the Kimeze sisters who created their accessory brand to honor their African heritage and draws inspiration from the importance of imagination in actioning change.
Launched in 2021 by sisters, Clare and Christina Kimeze, their London brand combines expert craftsmanship, innovative design with luxurious and sustainable materials. We had the pleasure to sit down with Christina to learn more about her work as a painter and see what inspires her beautiful artwork and creations.
Unusual surface materials form an important part of Christina’s practice, which she uses to explore how texture and luminosity help to investigate themes of interiority, oneness and belonging. Frequently working on suede matboard, she combines dry chalks, oil pastel and wet paints, applying, crushing and crunching them on the surfaces.
Christina Kimeze received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford and her postgraduate degree from The Royal Drawing School, London. Her recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition “Something other than the world might know” at White Cube, Paris (2023) along with several group exhibitions including: Hauser & Wirth "Present Tense" (2024), The Dulwich Picture Gallery "Soulscapes" (2024); Le Magasin “Oh telephone, black oracle" (2023); Michael Werner, "Interior" (2022); Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy (2022) and Buckingham Palace, London (2022). She will also participate in Kehinde Wiley’s residency at Black Rock Senegal in 2024/2025.
What do you want your audience to walk away with when they experience your work?
"I think with any art it’s very felt, both the making and then experiencing other people's work, you either feel it or you don’t. The idea of being prescriptive of that experience doesn’t sit with me. When I make work, I’m not thinking about how it’s going to be received, but rather I’m preoccupied with trying to find an alternative way of representing a feeling, an emotion, a memory, visually. It’s a process and you feel your way through, when you’ve done enough to achieve that and by that point, maybe the picture and ideas around it have become something else entirely... I think if someone walked away with a feeling that the picture had given them another way of experiencing something difficult to put into words, that it had been seen and acknowledged in the work, then that would be a special thing indeed."
What other creatives are you inspired by?
"When I’m not painting, I spend most of my time looking at other paintings, films and reading. I’m hugely inspired by the medium of film, each still is like an incredible composition of a painting, the balance of colour, the props, the lighting, the actors. I’m particularly inspired by the films of Ousmane Sembene, Djibril Diop Mambety, Burning an illusion by Menelick Shabazz. The American writer and academic, Kevin Quashie has also hugely inspired my work particularly with his book: The Sovereignty of Quiet, which looks at the expressive qualities of quietness in African American culture, similarly Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, Zadie Smith and more recently Caleb Azumah Nelson are writers I deeply admire and whose work I return to."
Artwork featured courtesy of Christina Kimeze
Christina Kimeze Wader (Lido Beach) 2022, © Christina Kimeze Photo © Matthew Hollow
Christina Kimeze Interior (I) 2022, © Christina Kimeze. Photo © Matthew Hollow
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