Kaya Fortune’s art represents African American history, music, and visual arts as well as spiritual and social concepts. The work is a tapestry of our experience from Africa to urban America. He attempts to peel back the skins and layers of history and expose things that have been forgotten. The ancestors perseverance provides the strength and encouragement to overcome adversity, giving the artist the tools to create new visions in his or her work. Fortune is influenced by the soulful history of Jazz and Blues music and musicians. Each element ties together his experience of the past and present allowing him to create a contemporary interpretation.
The piece Living in Black and White is influenced by the quilting traditions of African American women from the south. Within the idea of a quilt, he includes elements of his grandparents, historical figures, musicians, and contemporary references. The work allows the viewer to question their views of history and racial identity.
Kaya Fortune moved to the Bay Area 1982 to pursue an academic teaching career. He was drawn to the Bay Area because of its art scene which he saw as a creative environment where he could pursue his own art career. He later focused on art education and became a teaching artist at MOCHA. He wanted to inspire children by using the visual arts as a vehicle to give them the voice to be creative spirits. He has shown his work during the last 20 years throughout the Bay Area. He has co-founded a visual arts organization called “Soul Salon Ten”. He also collaborated on the “Hood Games” a series of organized skate boarding events for urban children in northern and southern CA. In addition he created a fashion design company called “Afro Blue” that focused on classic men’s fashion from the 30’s and 40’s with a contemporary style. He is exhibiting at Mercury 20 Gallery for the first time as an invited guest artist.
Artist Talks and Reception: Saturday August 30, 4-6pm
Oakland Art Murmur First Friday: September 5, 6-9pm
Third Thursdays on 25th Street: August 22 + September 18, 6-8pm