By Michelle LaFiuraSPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Senior photography major, Kay Hopkins is a colorful individual. While sporting bright blue lipstick, she spoke about her upcoming FORM gallery art show “Ashe•Asante•Shukran,” a collection of photos from a recent journey to Africa.
“My show is going to be based on color,” Hopkins said. “I’m going to showcase it as a grand [connection of] everything by color.When you’re looking at the images, you’re seeing them as a whole and seeing them in relation to each other.”
The inspiration for her project came from a month-long trip to Kenya and a brief stop in Egypt. During her time in Africa, Hopkins cataloged the experience with conceptual, documentary-style photography. Hopkins said she enjoys blending elements in her artwork, especially when they are typically contradictory.
Kenya’s culture is very conservative, she said, “but the colors [in Kenya] are very vibrant and there’s a lot of them.” Everybody wears a variety of color schemes and everywhere she traveled she could see a variation of artistic designs, whether in the architecture or the people.
She said she likes how this is an inverse of New York’s culture, which she argues is very liberal, but everybody sticks to a neutral color palette.
The trip personally affected her as an African-American woman, she said. Hopkins called it, “a healing experience. Being African-American [I don’t know] about that part of my culture or even where we’re from.” She said she was the first person on that side of her family to go back to Africa.
“I’m very thankful to have gotten the opportunity to have that experience,” said Hopkins – which is where the name of the show originates.
Like the blending of colors in her photographs, the name of the show is a blending of cultures. “Ashe,” “Asante,” and “Shukran” are ways of saying “thank you” in Maa, spoken by the Maasai tribe, Swahili and Arabic, respectively. Hopkins said she is grateful to the people and the culture that she experienced during her time abroad.
Hopkins first took an interest in art as a child. She picked up techniques in drawing from her sister, which later developed into an interest in photography. She said she would like to further explore mixed media and multimedia artwork.
She said, “Art is a process and you can never stop learning.”
Her will artwork is due to hang in the FORM gallery from Oct. 26-29. You can see more of her artwork at KayHopPhotos.com or contact her at KayHopPhotos@yahoo.com.