As the 2017 InLiquid Benefit approaches, we are excited to showcase the exclusive pieces to be sold at our silent auction. In preparation for our Young Professionals Night, we encourage our fellow millennials to put down their rosé-pink accessories and start their art collection early–as collecting art is both a financial and cultural investment to make.
Traditional kente cloth – a cultural motif in Rainey’s digital collages.
A powerful piece to begin your collection with is InLiquid Member artist Makeba Rainey’s digital collage, Baldwin. This 23″x20″ digital collage is a portrait of the novelist James Arthur Baldwin. His literary works explore the intersections of race, class, sex, and religion, which include Giovanni’s Room, a classic LGBTQ coming of age story, and an unfinished manuscript titled Remember This House, later expanded upon and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award-nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.
Much like Baldwin’s exploration of culture, In Rainey’s composition of Baldwin explores culture through the use of patterns. The overlapping of culturally based textures and their colors, especially in the use of African Wax cloth, play a big role. “There are specific colors you wear for occasions such as weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies–all celebrating the different monuments in the individual’s life as well as the community’s, ” Rainey explains, “The motifs printed on the cloth adds further meaning and allows the wearer to speak to others without opening their mouth.” Rainey’s selection of Baldwin’s background and foreground textile was guided simply by her intuition. However, for Baldwin’s socks, collar, and pocket, Rainey applies traditional African Kente cloth, “a very popular in Harlem when I was a child,” she says. “At that time a lot of Black Americans were reclaiming a connection to their African roots and Kente cloth was the visual representation of that.”
Otherwise known as KEEBS, Rainey, a Harlem native inspired by her community and fellow emerging visual and performance artists, is also the is the founder of Black Capital Coalition (BCC), which promotes both visual and performance artists from Harlem through creative collaborations between artists, businesses, and cultural institutions.