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Kenyssa Evans' Else/Where holds a playful and serious undertone on the surveillance of Blackness that hinges on a dance of hiding and revealing through photography and sculpture. The space exhibits how power structures are shifting with the change of one’s position and limitations, and simultaneously unveils how conditions of privacy and observation are generated through concealment and non-movement. The fleeting, fragmented porch plays up the spatial and theoretical relationship between our physical world and imaginary perceptions and mobilizes a critique of racializing surveillance. The red masking is a transition of an artificial process of display, investigating boundaries between pictorial and real space within architectural spaces. This is a form of unconscious freedom practice—of re-imagining how Blackness shifts, morphs, and embodies technology to combat oppression and surveillance. A double-sided door limits you to what could be more to explore, while a figure confronts you. The free-standing real physical objects dissolve in plaster, comprising a representation of that object and visually rendering something that’s not really there, a second-order extension of our reality. The objects are spray-painted with shades of blue that operate as a metaphor of solemnity, distance, and fluidity; yet, the viewer’s movement throughout the space, while in some ways an ethereal experience, complicates the location of their own physical presence. By creating difficulty around the identification of personhood and location of the environment, it has you question both the things you are familiar with and the things that are lurking around unwilling to reveal themselves.

Kenyssa Evans is an interdisciplinary artist who constructs narratives that are both personal and universal to the evolving state of Black identity. With a focus on time and representations of Black imagination, process, and refusal, she meditates on envisioning a set of futures that would require the rejection of Western construction of Blackness. She looks into what it could mean to lean into the community beyond representational politics, the need for restorative practices, and a Black aesthetic defined outside of a white settler gaze. Through a precise visual language of imagery, materials, objects, and language that are in constant metaphorical motion, her work simultaneously holds aspects of Black modes of expressivity. Her work has been exhibited in group shows including Chapters at the National Portrait Gallery and DC Human Rights Exhibition of Multimedia Projects at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.

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