Kenya (Robinson) teams with Orlando Museum of Art to boost Black representation in stock imagery

In partnership with contemporary artist Kenya (Robinson), the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) has launched “BLIXEL: (Re)Stock Image Collection,” a project designed to address under-representation of people of African descent in stock imagery. Through the project, funded in part by United Arts of Central Florida, the museum and artist aim to establish a volunteer network of stock image collection sites, in the form of photoshoot locations, to which photographers, visual editors and participating models may donate their time, expertise and visage.

(Robinson), who won the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art in 2018, designed the project after encountering a severe lack of diverse representation in online image libraries while working on a series of book cover artworks entitled Hood Tales that relied heavily on stock imagery.

(Robinson) says she is looking for “proof that identified blackness doesn’t deny an American life. ‘BLIXEL’ exists as a platform to expand stock image options and normalize inclusion. I am asking everyone in my orbit to share this idea. To spread it like a weed, to contribute to its growth, to inspire it beyond novelty into ubiquity.”

Orlando Museum of Art will serve as the primary site and other satellite photography partner locations will be sought as the project advances. Participants at all approved sites will receive early access to the resulting stock image collection as well as free admission to the Orlando Museum of Art.

To onboard more satellite photography locations and volunteer photographers, (Robinson) has enlisted the support of new media artists and technologists LaJuné McMillian and Jillian Marie Browning who will provide instructional kits outlining minimum equipment requirements and best practices for setting up a collection site. The artists will share more about the project and their practice during a webinar on Dec.10 moderated by Dr. Porchia Moore.

In (Robinson)’s own words: “Here’s to in/visibility, together.”

Kenya (Robinson) (born 1977) 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, exploring nonbinary perceptions of gender, race and ability.

Combining a variety of audio-visual elements and live performance, (Robinson)’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY; The Kitchen, NY; The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoACADA), NY; among many others.

She has lectured at Hampshire College, Long Island University, and the University of Florida. An established blogger and arts and culture contributor to the Huffington Post, (Robinson), who chooses to have her last name placed in parentheses, documents her work on her Instagram account @kenya9. She earned an MFA in Sculpture from the School of Art at Yale University in 2013.

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