I stand on the second floor of SoFi Stadium, overcome by the hallway’s immensity. Behind me, a sea of 70,000 seats span the state of the art stadium, the jewel of the relatively new Hollywood Park. However, in this moment, I hone in on what’s in front of me. The sign reads “Earliest Known Black Baptism Record, 1595.” I peer down the rest of the hall, noticing more encased African American artifacts and artworks, and begin to piece this life-sized timeline together. The letters of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. signed with perfectly preserved signatures, the editing of W.E.B. Du Bois, the paint strokes of Ernie Barnes-iconic names I have come across in school textbooks, but never at this magnification, never parallel to one an- other. And it asks: how can history possess such a cyclical nature? Culture emerges: it’s suppressed, ignored, repeated. Tune into the news at present, and Black erasure abounds. The inaccuracy of historical metamorphosis. But what I’m witnessing here is anything but inaccuracy-it’s a continuation. Art in the midst of a profound metamorphosis.
The nationally renowned Kinsey African American Art and History Collection (founded by Bernard and Shirley Kinsey) has returned to Los Angeles following a global 15-year tour. Major pieces are now on exhibition in Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, which illuminate the omitted histories and experiences of the Black community. The curatorial legacy of the Kinseys continues as the couple’s son, Khalil Kinsey, serves as the collection’s Chief Curator. What began as Kinsey’s ancestral exploration for a third grade project, has now blossomed into a cultural timeline that will have you reconsidering American history and the version you were taught. Kinsey’s latest mission to introduce representational works to the art landscape uses historical artifacts and artworks as vessels for education reform.
Before this remarkable iteration at SoFi, the Kinseys traveled to more than 100 countries, immersing themselves in the richness of cultural understanding. These excursions prompted an introspection into their own African American history, a history they found to be sparse and inaccessible. Having procured over 700 rare historical objects that serve as first-hand accounts of Black History, The Kinsey Collection has now come to be celebrated as one of the world’s largest private collections of African American art and historical facts.
Yet the SoFi install is not all relics. After wandering through the mind-boggling historical expression, viewers encounter Continuum, co-curated by Kinsey and Rick Garzon, in partnership with Inglewood-based Residency Art Gallery. The artworks herein inform the newest addition to The Kinsey Collection and SoFi Stadium’s communal integration efforts. Twenty local artists of color (Genevieve Gaignard, Patrick Martinez, Jaimie Milner, Lyndon Barrois Sr, Texas Isaiah, Samuel Levi Jones, Yasmine Nasser Diaz, and more) are represented, and the talent showcased is unquestionable. Kinsey expands on Continuum as, “con- temporary works presented in a very relevant way as the latest iteration of our historical progress. It’s the understanding that this is a continuation, not something that is being started over, but something that has always been here and that continues to be built upon.”
Displayed on SoFi Stadium’s second level mezzanine, Continuum spans one of the stadium’s most distinguished levels and access points. Given fine art’s exclusionary reputation, Kinsey and SoFi have worked harmoniously to ensure that this body of work can be absorbed and shared by a diverse audience from anywhere-not just fortunate SoFi event ticket holders. Jason Witt, the Senior Director of Community Affairs and Engagement for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park shares,“For $15, you can spend as much time here as you want, really absorbing this information. [Continuum’s] also been a fantastic way to uplift local artists and give them an opportunity to showcase work they might not be able to showcase in front of an audience they might not usually get.” Witt continues, “The walls have been white and we’ve been looking for ways to add some culture and add some color, not just in the stadium, but throughout the fabric of Hollywood Park.”
Kinsey adds to Witt’s remarks on evolution and inclusion, rather than stasis. “The work that we do is an agent to support new information that nourishes and that helps you evolve,” he shares. “I think in America as a whole, we are operating with a very small fraction of information that stunts our growth.” Kinsey adds that the exhibition is not only a call-to-action, but a call-to-metamorphosis. Through education reform, Continuum platforms the creative works of Black Excellence, while also debunking traditional art spaces and their accompanied confinements-physically and socially.
Kinsey is set to open a small gallery called Context Projects that expands upon the work Continuum has begun. “The more information we get,” he acknowledges, “the more we grow, and the more Black America can realize its true place in the world. Ultimately this is all about evolution, improvement, and moving forward together. But that can only happen when more of us, if not all of us, have the same information.”
Written by Shei Marcelline
Photographed by Suede Williams
Styled by Cam Garcia
Groomer: Aliana Moss
Location: SoFi Stadium