If You’re Searching for a Gift That Gives Back, You’ll Love These Limited-Edition Designs by Artist Kehinde Wiley
On the eleventh day of Artmas, we showcase a capsule collection benefiting Black Rock, Wiley's non-profit artist residency in Senegal.
Welcome to The 12 Days of Artmas, our new, non-denominational holiday extravaganza—an advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, dropping daily through December 24.
Kehinde Wiley, the African-American painter best known for his arresting photorealistic portraits of Black figures—including Barack Obama—against colorful backgrounds, has launched a limited-edition clothing and design collection to support Black Rock, the non-profit artist residency in Dakar, Senegal that he founded in 2019.
The collection, which includes basketballs, candles, playing cards, puffer coats, and sweatshirts features a selection of motifs from Wiley’s paintings, with each design adapted directly from an original work of art. Additionally, to celebrate the launch, Wiley is selling a print of his artwork Demetrius Study (2021), also to benefit Black Rock.
The proceeds from all purchases, which are available to pre-order through the Kehinde Wiley Shop, directly support, according to a statement from the artist, his residency’s mission: “to bring together artists, thinkers, and innovators from around the world; to offer a platform for these artists to engage in cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary creative processes; and to build new global discourses about Africa and the African Diaspora.”
See below for some of the items featured in the Kehinde Wiley Shop.
The Death of St. Joseph Basketball (see featured image) zooms in on details from Wiley’s 2017 painting, Death of St. Joseph, which was inspired by 18th-century classical biblical portraiture and reimagined for a contemporary audience. According to Wiley, “The design emphasis is on the model’s open hand, inviting multi-cultural conversation and connection between time and place.” Available here, for $150. Meanwhile, a Death of St. Joseph T-Shirt is available here, for $140.
The Besler’s Florilegium, Shoe Salesman Hoodie features imagery from Wiley’s 2012 painting of the same name, which Wiley selected, per a statement from the Kehinde Wiley Shop, “for its lush greenery and scarlet hibiscus against a background of vibrant, celestial blue.” The painting was reimagined and redesigned for the unisex top, which has a plush cotton interior and a satin-lined hood, to create “a new narrative version of this visionary portrait of the everyday hero.” Available here, for $280.
The Tiled Silk Pajama Set combines imagery from four of Wiley’s paintings to create a unique tapestry reflecting the artist’s travels to Brazil, Cameroon, Israel, and Mali. The unisex set “features vibrant portrayals of contemporary Black and brown men in cross-cultural nationalistic poses that reimagine that art-historical grand narrative in portraiture,” Wiley notes. The four paintings are: Marechal Floriano Peixoto II (2009); Benediter Brkou (2011); Besler’s Florilegium, Shoe Salesman (2012); and Dogon Couple II (2013). Available here, for $650.
The Puffer Coat comments on adornment across cultures with its multicultural design from Wiley’s Kern Alexander Study (2011). You’ll find the portrait from the original artwork on the coat’s back. Available here, for $800.
The Grace Deck of Cards features Wiley’s Dacia Carter II (2012), a painting from the artist’s “An Economy of Grace” series, which celebrates the strength and beauty of Black women. The deck shows the likeness of model Dacia Carter, who is depicted as a kind of goddess against a backdrop of green and pink flora. Available here, for $30.
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