Entries in Kenturah H. Davis (33)



Kentuah Davis has been commissioned by Alliance Française Accra to present a performance installation with collaborators Kuyum Arts Investigation Project.


ARTE: KENTURAH DAVIS & California Senate Contemporary Collection

Kenturah Davis was selected by Senator Holly J. Mitchell with the help of curator (and now director of PAMM) Franklin Sirmans to exhibit in the California State Senate Contemporary Art Collection 2015-2016.  Her drawing 'Mediatation VIII: Karim' from the Narratives and Meditations series is on view now.




Kenturah Davis' conversation and photoshoot for the Crenshaw/LAX metro line. She is one of the 14 artists selected to create site-specific, intergrated artworks. Those who reside, work or maintain a significant connection with Inglewood are called to be a part of history as the subjects of the drawings that will develop the Florence/La Brea Station.


ARTE: We Must Risk Delight

Kenturah has the entire Narratives I-IV series included and on view now in a group exhibition taking place during the Venice Biennale.

We Must Risk Delight: Twenty Artists from Los Angeles

@ la Biennale di Venezia, Biennale Arte 2015

Exhibition Dates: May 9 - November 22, 2015

Magazzino del Sale No.3, Dorsoduro 264, Venezia, Italy

Presented in collaboration with Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia

We Must Risk Delight: Twenty Artists from Los Angeles is an exhibition that presents, for the first time on the international stage, a group of exceptional contemporary Los Angeles artists whose work makes Los Angeles one of the most exciting hubs of creativity in the world today.
           We Must Risk Delight is inspired by the poem A Brief for the Defense by a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry finalist, Jack Gilbert. In his viscerally visual poem, Gilbert calls on humanity to recognize every moment of delight even in the most ominous of impressions. By slicing through the somber depictions of the world we live in with sharp and vibrant moments of joy, the poet presents an irrefutable case for our happiness as being our most requisite expression of freedom, not in spite of the cruelty that is a part of our world, but because of it.     
           A work of art represents the artist’s vision of the world and, when embraced, it can be seen as a way of making a world. The artists presented in We Must Risk Delight will give the audiences of the Biennale Arte 2015 an opportunity to discover the city of Los Angeles through the kaleidoscope of its creative community, while also encouraging us all to risk delight and celebrate the act of creating as humanity’s pathway to joy: both within ourselves and in the collective world around us.

We Must Risk Delight: Twenty Artists from Los Angeles is being presented as an official Collateral Event of the 56th manifestation of la Biennale di Venezia, Biennale Arte 2015.

Presented Artists:

Brandy Eve Allen                   Tanya Batura                    Jamison Carter                      Carolyn Castaño
Robbie Conal                         Kenturah Davis                Amir H. Fallah                        Alexandra Grant
Margaret Griffith                    Sherin Guirguis                Ben Jackel                             Mark Licari
Rebecca Niederlander             Stas Orlovski                   Natasa Prosenc Stearns          Tony de los Reyes
Frank Ryan                            Shizu Saldamando           Carole Silverstein                   Alexis Zoto




ARTE: Kenturah + Sonder + Metro = Public Art Commission

Kenturah Davis along with 13 other amazing artists have all been selected to create new public art works for the new LAX/Crenshaw metro line!!!

Other artists include Mickalene Thomas (who will be doing the metro stop that is across the street from the gallery Crenshaw/Vernon) Shinique Smith & Geoff McFetridge.


ARTE: Kenturah & Samuel are in TMR Biennial

Both Kenturah Davis and Samuel Levi Jones are included in The Mistake Room's first biennial benefit exhibition.  The opening of The Silence of Ordinary Things is March 28, 2015.

Other artists included in this group exhibition are Korakrit Arunanondchai, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Sadie Barnette, Neil Beloufa, Ed Clark, William Cordova, Petra Cortright, Mario Garcia-Torres, Samara Golden, Sayre Gomez, David Hammons, JPW3, Isaac Julien, Glenn Kaino, Matsumi Kanemitsu, Lucia Koch, Oscar Murillo, Jackie Nickerson, Eamon Ore-Giron, Neil Raitt, Fay Ray, Analia Saban, Aaron Sandnes, Eduardo Sarabia, Melanie Smith, Vivian Suter, Henry Taylor, Diana Thater, Hank Willis Thomas and Liat Yossifor. 


ARTE: Kenturah Color Blocking in Accra

Kenturah is using her instagram to take some rad imagaery from Accra...everything is coming up #pink <3



ARTE: Kenturah is on view on the East coast

You can see a drawing installation art work by Kenturah Davis at The Mine Factory now until December 21st in Pittsburgh, PA.  She is included in the I JUST WANT THE PAPER group exhibition.



Kenturah has an installation in the Yokohama Trienniale in Tokyo, Japan.

"This piece is on view at Midtokyo Gallery's Draft Punk show, in the Yokohama Triennale in Japan. The theme for this year's exhibition is Fahrenheit 451, referencing Bradbury's 1953 novel centered around book burning. I have been thinking about memory and the idea transferring knowledge from one form to another. I found a way to respond to the theme of the show through the meaning behind my name......

"Kenturah" is derived from a Hebrew word for incense, which is a metaphor for prayer. The idea is that converting an aromatic material into smoke allows it to dissipate and enter another dimension where God resides: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." This scripture makes a lyrical assertion about language and represents the greatest potential of our use of words. It is also the text I used for this first drawing in the “Namesake” series. It is a self-portrait made by writing this text on shavings of palo santo (“holy wood”), a type of tree bark from South America that is traditionally used as ritual incense. I burned them, converting the inscribed wood into plumes of smoke. A residue of soot was left behind, to which I added liquid, turning it into black ink. I applied the ink to rice paper using rubber stamp letters. In essence, this drawing is a byproduct of burned, dissipated, text. It represents the idea that our current state of being is a result of words that have been released into the atmosphere. Of note, the drawing is derived from a photo that I distorted and was drawn on thin rice paper to create an ethereal quality to the piece."




Kenturah's radio interview about her solo exhibit Narratives and Meditations


ARTE: Touching the Art + Diversity Executive = Is the Art World Racist

Kenturah is on episode 3 of Ovation TV Touching the Art series.  They get into some good topics on this ep, one of which is about racism in the art world.  Watch it to see what Kenturah has to say.


Also on the topic of race; I was interviewed last week by Diversity Executive and gave my honest, optimistic and diplomatic answers to the question about racism and sexism in the art world.  You can read it HERE


ARTE: Narratives and Meditations Review

Wonderful review of Kenturah's show at the Daily Serving.

As an artist playing with the limits of realism, Kenturah Davis points to the construction and materiality of the portrait, while also emphasizing the internal and social nature of language in her solo show Narratives and Meditations at Papillion in Los Angeles.

Through an impressive mastery of her subjects’ image, Davis creates portraits of brown-skinned, kinky-haired, vocal subjects. Installed in a grid-like pattern on the wall, the series Narratives comprises two graphite murals, each formed by numerous sheets of archival paper. Within these two murals, four portraits anoint the gallery lounge. The faces emerge from lines of Davis’ poetry, scrawled in densely layered cursive script that reads: “There’s something about dignity/And something about shame/There’s something about honesty/And something about blame…” Covering each sheet, the text creates a wide range of value gradation, punctuated with highlights of negative space. In the next room,nine framed portraits (graphite, 42 x 38 in. each) from the series Meditations command the viewer’s gaze. Similar to those in the Narrativeseries, these images are also constructed from layers of text; however, they read as mantras, or vocalizations of the self. Whether it’s Davis’ own writing, scripture, song lyrics, or a quote from Audre Lorde, a sentiment of personal resilience is conveyed. The text constitutes each subject, but it also activates a dialogue between subjects, as well as the subjects and viewers, that works to intercept culturally constructed notions of otherness made apparent by their deftly captured features.

While Davis does not make portraits only of black women, black women are her primary focus of study. Her reverence for black women, and the legacies of black feminism (the privileging of self-definition, the articulation of a visual beauty that is inherently coupled with blackness, the assertion of a powerful femininity), are apparent in the number of women she draws and her decision to situate them equally within the context of Audre Lorde and the Bible. Even though the texts convey sentiments of prideful endurance, and though the absence of color renders the faces as almost iconic, Davis’ treatment of her subjects also reveals an interest in vulnerability. From the soft lines and dark contours of their faces, to the unruly kinks of their hair, her portraits are full of complexity. Davis maintains an attention to detail that simultaneously complicates the images’ minimal arrangement and the internal strength conveyed through the text. There is no lack of confidence in Narratives and Meditations, but these beautiful people are more than prideful. Their gazes reveal reflexivity, timidity, joy, and exhaustion, and in this way, the portraits reflect what it means to be utterly human.

By Anna Martine Whitehead


ARTE: Kenturah's Artist Talk

Here is the live recorded video of Kenturah's art talk that took place during Leimert Park Artwalk on Sunday.  Shawanna Davis is the moderator.


ARTE: Kenturah in China 

This month you can view one of Kenturah's installation hand written drawings in China at the Ucity Art Museum in Guangzhou.  The group exhibition An American Water Margin is on view now until October 10.

"Language Games" pencil on paper


ARTE: Kenturah's Radio Interview

Kenturah has a great interview on OFF RAMP with John Rabe.  Click the photo to read/listen!


ARTE: Narratives and Meditations

Kenturah's next solo exhibit opens this upcoming Saturday August 30th at 6pm...looking forward to seeing you all there!



ARTE: Fabrik Mag

Kenturah is featured in the latest issue of art magazine FABRIK as one of eight emerging artist in LA to watch!


ARTE: LACE - The Happening

I was asked to be a guest curator at this year's THE HAPPENING, LACE's annual benefit gala. Bid on the works now!  And visit welcometolace.org to purchase tickets to the live auction!


Andy Robert, 2014 drawing on canvas, Som'em Special

Henry Taylor, oil on canvas, 2012, Dania Sofia is this you: Feeling brown is not blue

Kenturah Davis, ink on paper, 2011, DIFFERENT




Kenturah Davis was commissioned to do her first public art project. Watch her awesome time lapse of making the hand written mural drawings.

Commissioned by Alliance Francaise d'Accra, 2014.
Drawn by writing this Audre Lorde quote in repetition:

I arrived in Ghana November, 2013. I found myself listening to a lot of Nina Simone, so when the opportunity came to propose a mural for International Women's Day, I immediately thought of Simone's "Four Women." The emotion of this song intensified my experiences as I traveled throughout the country, visiting the slave castles in and grappling with the history of the African diaspora. The theme Alliance Francaise selected for the mural, "Women of the World", encouraged me to consider subjects of today. Using Simone's song as a point of departure, I identified four African women who live in Accra and were doing interesting work that contributes to the community. It was important that they not be "famous"; rather, i tried to find a balance between anonymity and admirability.Ultimately, I wanted to create a work of art that portrayed accomplished women with very different personal stories and are tied to the strength and resiliency that Nina Simone conveys in her lyrical narratives. They are symbols of the many more amazing women I've encountered in Ghana.

Integral to the process of making the drawing, I had to also identify a text that I would use to render the four women. I finally selected one suggested by a friend; a quote by feminist, Audre Lorde: "I AM DELIBERATE AND AFRAID OF NOTHING." This simple, yet potent phrase served the dual purpose of declaring their sense of purpose and functioning as a meditation by which i could absorb its meaning for my own benefit. The process of writing a text in repetition to compose the portrait was a metaphor for the way that we acquire and inhabit language. It extended the work into the realm of a performative act, in which the process of making it is as important as the finished piece.Understanding that the advent of the written word arrived as the capacity of human memory deteriorated situates the portraits as a kind of documentation that might extend the reach of collective memory and historical consciousness.


Alliance Francaise d'Accra
Shawanna Davis
Bright Kpoha
Keni and Mildred Davis
Papillion Art

Four Women:
Lila Macqueen Djaba
Akosua Adoma Owusu
Nana Oforiatta Ayim
Martina Odonkor


ARTE: ADL Art Auction

Last night I attended the art auction for the Anti Defamation League LA at the home of Jeanne and Tony Pritzker.  The host was Eli Broad and there were tons of awesome pieces up for grabs!  Kehinde Wiley, Gary Baseman and Kenturah Davis were just a few of the talents involved.  Kenturah made a drawing for the occasion.  A portrait of Alpha Robertson, the mother of Carole Robertson the 14 year old girl that was killed in the 1963 church bombing.  Read the article published in the Jewish Journal which features a quote from Kenturah about her art practice.