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Issue 46 | www.fokus.org


Atiba T. Edwards

Founder & Chief Curator Atiba is an engineer focused on making and connecting creative people, nodes, networks and moments.

Shani Cohen Curator

Shani is a Brooklyn based writer who believes in uniting our diverse communities through art and the power of words.

Jozi Zwerdling Curator

Jozi is an artist enabler, educator and organizer who loves the INSIGHT project as a means of re-imagining, linking and documenting selves, stories and worlds.

INSIGHT Magazine showcases and archives emerging contemporary artists from all art disciplines. FOKUS produces this magazine to provide insight into people who are creating art, traditional and non-traditional, in their own way.

Awakening Contributors

LP Ǽkili • Adele Ambrose • Henry Burgos • Trashina Conner • Pierre Davis • Hana Elkhazin • iamL1M1TLESS • Chanel Kennebrew • A. T. Luna • Lady MBA • Michael Massenburg • NO MAYO • Paolo Pedini • Mikal Perez • Alex Puryear • Samir Shareef • Yogi Taji • Keya Whetstone • T. Wise • Ebony Yizar • Jozi Zwerdling

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Questions, comments and contributions can be sent to insightsubmit@gmail.com. To view older issues of INSIGHT, visit www.fokus.org/insight. Copyright © 2016. INSIGHT (ISSN 2164-7771) is a publication of FOKUS, Inc. All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.


INSIGHT magazine AWAKENING: Contents 4 12 13 14 20 24 26 28 34 35 37 39 40 45 46 50 53 54

Chanel Kennebrew Explorations in Nude Trashina Conner 18 Ingredients to Make Daddy A. T. Luna It’s Hard to Forget Adele Ambrose Fearlessness Michael Massenburg Humanity Jozi Zwerdling Hold The Mayo Keya Whetstone Floral Exam LP ǟkili Untitled Series Paolo Pedini Blind Spot Pierre Davis Connected Jozi Zwerdling Words with Wise Ebony Yizar Oceans Alex Puryear Alternative Surrealism Mikal Perez War Yogi Taji Awakening Henry Burgos Pieces A. T. Luna The Color Red Samir Shareef Through My Eyes

Photography

Visual Art

Creative Writing

Articles


INSIGHT magazine: AWAKENING

Explorations in Nude

Visual Art By Chanel Kennebrew Text By Hana Elkhazin

The series Explorations In Nude and this issue’s theme of awakening share a direct link between validation (or lack thereof) of one’s perspective and empowerment in the actions or non actions that result from that perspective. If cognitive dissonance is the stress that arises from having two or more conflicting beliefs, then Chanel Kennebrew’s Explorations In Nude is the visualization of the balm that soothes that stress. It invites you to imagine a world where competing ideas, experiences, and identities should not be reconciled, hidden, mitigated or avoided. The exhibit challenges the categorical -isms that society uses to organize the behaviors, ideas and movements of people by creating the illusion of exposed layers and collaging images that are not normally seen together. Using her own experiences as references, Kennebrew pokes at and taunts the general-ism that she herself often promotes in her work as a prop stylist for popular publications. As a result, her work forces the onlooker to question the grouping, organizing, and categorizing of their own thoughts. The conceptual idea behind Explorations in Nude is not necessarily more or less important than the final product. Kennebrew’s works explode with colors, nostalgic images and playfulness, making it easily appreciated by the most discerning critical thinkers as well as a classroom of kindergartners. The layers and shadows in the artwork maintain a light hearted dialogue with its onlooker and ask, “What do you see now?” “How about now?” “Are you looking at me differently or am I different now?” And the onlooker responds with an expanding perception of reality. Explorations In Nude is a reminder that information refracts perception and alternately perspective refracts information. Like the overarching branches of an espaliered tree, Explorations in Nude is a lateral deep dive that allows one -ism to bleed into the next.

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We See You

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Bright Future www.fokus.org |

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Race Card

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Iron Master www.fokus.org |

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Puke

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Stay Woke

Chanel Kennebrew (b.1982, Inglewood, CA) is a mixed-media artist. Kennebrew holds a B.F.A. from Ryerson University and has studied at SVA and Ontario College of Art and Design. www.junkprints.com www.fokus.org |

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18 Ingredients to Make Daddy (excerpt) Words By Trashina Conner Visual Art By Lydia MBA

I may want to be a dancer, a teacher like Mommy, or a pastor like him. But regardless, I know he will always support me. We need 3 ½ cups of this. ½ cup of fairy dust so Daddy believes in me, even if at times I stop believing in myself.

This book is about a girl’s journey to create her perfect daddy. Protection and Forgiveness are a few of the ingredients mentioned in the book. I hope to inspire and awaken dads to the important role they play in their daughters’ lives. But also shine light on all the dads who are braiding hair at night, attending dance recitals, and just being present at all times. My dad unexpectedly passed when I was 18 years old and he was my first love, #1 fan, and so much more. Each Ingredient in my book represents a special moment I had with him that molded him into my hero, and me into the woman I am today. Trashina Conner is a professional dancer and teaching artist in NYC. Most recently, she published her first children’s book ‘18 Ingredients to Make Daddy;’ a girl’s recipe to create her perfect daddy. 12 | www.fokus.org


INSIGHT magazine: AWAKENING

It’s Hard to Forget By A.T. Luna

it’s hard to forget someone who inspires you beyond words...

A.T. Luna, a Miami based artist, was raised with traditional values in her homeland. In the States, she was exposed to many experiences that allowed her deep-seated creativity to take a hold of her. www.fokus.org |

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Fearlessness

by Adele Ambrose

Awakening means fearlessness. This is a series documenting Japanese sea nettle which invoke both fear and awe. There is beauty in feeling fear and embracing it.

Adele Ambrose is a New York City based photographer. She enjoys exploring the world, meeting new people and documenting the places that channel creativity and inspire mirth. 14 | www.fokus.org


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Humanity

by Michael Massenburg

This series of work addresses one’s humanity being connected/reconnected to our environment, our body and spirituality in a technological world.

Morning Dawn

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Men’s Day

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Save Me

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Still I Rise

Michael Massenburg lives in Inglewood, California. Massenburg has exhibited in galleries, museums and created public art throughout the country and abroad. His list of public works includes Metro, American Jazz Museum and the Fabulous Forum. www.fokus.org |

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NO MAYO

Interview by Jozi Zwerdling With Kiesh completing a second gallery exhibition and returning to school for NO MAYO, I wanted to capture her process at this moment of “awakening.” NO MAYO is an experiential brand that creates things to inspire creating.

Photos By: iamL1M1TLESS Jozi Zwerdling: What does it mean to you to be in a process of awakening? Lakiesha Herman: To feel powerful. Knowing I can manifest and bring anything to life. Knowing that by being aware of my awakening I can do it with intention— with the right intentions. JZ: What does awakening look like and feel like? LH: It feels like responsibility, especially as an artist. I can’t just make some ass-shaking music on a canvas. If I’m aware of it, it’s my duty to make others aware. So I feel responsible. JZ: What are the keys to awakening or getting woke in your opinion? LH: A genuine curiosity of self, your impact on the world and how other people experience their experiences. You have to be okay with being uncomfortable and being wrong and not knowing some shit for a bit before you start finally going with what you feel and feel okay with that. Once you start trusting yourself, you allow the universe to show you that it’s real. And once you’re woke to that, you just know that you’re magic. JZ: What would you say are your main arts and how does NO MAYO serve as a platform for that work? LH: Just drawing. My main art—I’ve always just drawn. And NO MAYO just serves as a platform for me, an umbrella to be honest. A home base for my work. 24 | www.fokus.org


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JZ: What is the underlying message of NO MAYO and why? LH: Everyone thinks it’s just that I don’t like mayonnaise, which is very true, but it’s about creating things the way you want them made. On the surface, yeah it’s “I want a sandwich without mayonnaise.” But it’s also: I want my art made the way I want my art made. I want my music made the way I want my music made. If you knit, you knit the way you knit. Through NO MAYO, we encourage people to make their sandwich the way they want. JZ: How is NO MAYO in a process of awakening or becoming? LH: NO MAYO is about to get broken open. I just started school specifically for this brand. The things that I learned through the Streetwear: Mastered program are going to be directly applied. Just me being a student again and having deadlines is kind of like a time warp awakening. JZ: How does your art enable other people to experience an awakening? LH: I think I encourage people to see themselves as artists, or not as artists, but as creatives as well. You literally can’t help, as a human, but to create, or as a living thing, but to create. You talk and create sound. I just want to encourage people to see themselves as creatives. Through the spaces I’ve created, through my brand NO MAYO, I’ve allowed people to see that they can as well. Because one of their own is. JZ: What are your current goals for NO MAYO and your artwork in general? LH: The goal is your eyeballs. That’s all. Always. To view NO MAYO’s work, vist www.nomayousa.com

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Floral Exam

by Keya Whetstone

Bind

These pieces are part of a series titled “Floral Exam.” The series focuses on a lack of awareness in the relationships with one’s self and needs(i.e. body image).

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Hold of Me

Keya enjoys sunlight and sleep when she’s not pouring parts of her soul on a canvas. www.fokus.org |

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Untitled Series By LP Ǽkili

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Space Throne (Portrait of Grace Jones)

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Same Fight [Portrait of Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali)

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Always Known As (Portrait of Prince Nelson Rogers)

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Horn Of The Clock Bite (Portrait of Saul Williams)

Art is an intimate and mutual exchange between artist and witness. It transforms the moment of capturing someone’s attention into a bridge for joining intelligence on a multi-way street. LP Ækili Ross uses technology as his tool to express art through copious colors, fractals, dark lights, complex textures, abstract allegories and more in attempt to stimulate as many different senses of an audience’s attention as possible. www.LPAE38.com www.fokus.org |

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Blind Spot

by Paolo Pedini

This piece is my attempt to create visuals based on the idea of spitural awaking or philosophical awakening. To me, the title, “Blind Spot,� implies something missing from human everyday life, and perhaps levels of awareness that are not available to human existence. Paolo Pedini is a Detroit-based artist who creates art objects based on his developing style. Each piece begins spontaneously by creating background colors and patterns. Later foreground elements are added that are a stark contrast to previous layers. More elements, like spray painting and stencil work, are added to further the interactions between layers. www.paolopedini.com 34 | www.fokus.org


Connected

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by Pierre Davis

One Step Closer At Dinner Time www.fokus.org |

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We Capillaries

Pierre Davis is an Arlington, Virgina based artist that transforms ideas (often vague) into sculptural pieces. www.pierredavis.net 36 | www.fokus.org


Words with Wise

INSIGHT magazine: AWAKENING

Interview by Jozi Zwerdling Bred in Cincinnati now rooted in Brooklyn, T.Wise is a mish-mosh, criss-cross of Hip-Hop, performance poetry, comedy, and other stuff. T got started in high school guerilla open mics and got more refined through her time at Howard U. T got even deeper as a spiritual advisor of young people at her funky synagogue, and is now weaving all the crazy, creative contradictions together into performance pieces. She invites her audience to join her in questioning identity, privilege, and the workings of this world, all the while holding the pain and making room for the joy. –by Shalva & T. Wise 1. What would you say are your main arts? Rhyming/hiphop/poetry and comedy. 2. What is your current focus in terms of your art? Really treating my art as a craft, which requires hard focused work, investigating what unlocks my deepest deep and then how to harness it, studying the history and other masters of the crafts, learning, practice and finding the balance between my art as an essential release and repair for me on a personal level and as an important instrument for others and this world. Trying to consider how my art can be effective and reach people without letting thinking about how it will be perceived overtake my process. 3. What is your ultimate vision? What does it mean to you to be in a process of awakening? Many visions, dozens of eyes, and on different days I’m looking through different pairs. I would like to publish books of my poetry and essays, write movies, write and act in a comedic TV show, release a mixtape, be a ghost writer for Nicki Minaj, host a talk show, tour my one-person show, teach the youth, open a community Art School and garden with all my friends, and tour the world. My ultimate vision is to create and share my creations as my daily job, to make little gays feel safe and seen and to make everyone feel more at home in themselves so they can start treating other people’s homebodies and homehearts with care and respect and love, and treating our big mama earth home with the utmost care, respect, and love. I have to keep a little notebook by my bed and my ideas become little creatures stomping around and knocking in my brain until I let those little fuckers out. It means seeing myself in old people and flowers and melted ice cream and skaters and pipe smoke and kids missing two front teeth. It means dipping myself in water and light to reflect back to everyone else what is always there, but they might not see without me. Or to kaleidoscope that shit, let them spin me and my words and my melodies and find whatever they need in that moment sketched out through the broken glass, full of colors. It means being lovers with my work, waking up in a fight every morning, making sweet love every afternoon, and committing to a future before sleep every night. Asking questions that make my whole self feel like a foot that’s been still too long. That pain makes you want to crawl out of yourself. And really the only way to deal with it is to use the foot, to remind it of its purpose, to walk, to move. But sometimes you know your foot is asleep and just try not to provoke it, stay in the same position to avoid that stabbing, that return of feeling. I do this sometimes in myself and in my art. There are parts of me I’m still pressing snooze on. It is hard for me to fully accept my mission, my vision, my gift and my wish. It is hard for me to not think about how being fluffy and gay and a boy-looking-girl affects how lots of people will see me and hear me, or if they will ignore me or paint me as a clown or try to tear me down. Or how being white and doing hiphop just might not work. www.fokus.org |

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Or how I am a comedian that suffers from deep depression. Or how to keep living my comfortable, privileged life every day when people are being shot down, torn up and kept in cages and treated like fuel and beaten and berated and betrayed. These questions are roosters and church bells and my mother shaking me and my lover waking me; they will not let me sleep in peace. These parts are hardest to pull on because I don’t know what other threads they are woven with. What if I get more tangled? What if I unravel? What if I sew myself shut? Or what if I fuck around and cut together clothes that many people slip into and out, that make them feel fly, make them feel warm, make them feel like a person and a planet and a prayer all at once? I try to be myself, in all my crazy and contradiction, to be vulnerable, try to strip down in my work for others, to be like “Hey guys, look! Being naked is cool.” Feeling the breeze without a shirt cockblocking can open up a whole new world for us. In the Torah, in the Garden of Eden, when Eve eats from the Tree of Knowledge and Adam follows her, they become aware they are naked, they are ashamed, and then they are punished. I think we are made to feel ashamed of who we are, who we arrived as and who we have grown to be. We have been taught to be aware of what we lack instead of encouraged to relax and revel in our bare skin. We have been punished for eating our fill, for stuffing ourselves full of knowledge. I think, I hope, I try to help find the garden again, pick the fruit, let the juice drip thick, be aware of who we are, but feel no shame, get the rest we need, but wake when the sun calls us to do the work. To view more about T. Wise’s writing and shows, visit www.joyboygirl.com.

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The Ocean

INSIGHT magazine: AWAKENING

by Ebony N. Yizar

My friend, Joel Harper, wrote a book about ocean awareness - ”All the Way to the Ocean.” I was inspired by his message as it put into perspective what happens when you litter and how it affects the ocean animals and environment. Ebony Yizar works with high school students that have special needs. Creating, studying, and learning about v​ isual ​art are her true passions. www.fokus.org |

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Alternative Surrealism by Alex Puryear 40 | www.fokus.org


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​8th Moon

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​A Trinity Fractal Perception.

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A Journey to Remember

“I want the viewer to give the piece meaning, to give it a story, a life. I want them to make it their own.” However, with themes ranging from redemption to universal connection, each piece is unquestionably personal to Puryear. He likes to incorporate a piece of himself into all of his work. Be it a subtle symbol such as the allegory-laden lotus flower or a more conspicuous self-portrait of a fedora adorned individual, Puryear’s literal influence is never lacking, despite his desire for outside interpretation. www.puryearart.wix.com/alex 44 | www.fokus.org


War

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by Mikal Joel Perez.

This piece, “War,” is about the war that takes place within oneself. My higher self, tainted with negativity, is grabbing my negativity by its neck and holding me. The golden souls coming toward the battle represent the outside love from others who try to help. The beings barricading the battle are pieces of the tainted higher self. In reality, this represents my fighting the love and positivity. Awakening can be a difficult process. It involves you looking in the at the things you normally wouldn’t want to in the eye and changing them. This is not always easy and can feel like a never ending war. Awakening is becoming aware of the fight that has really been going on all along, the fight for inner peace. Mikal Joel Perez is a 17 year old artist from Miami who puts his soul into everything. His artwork is a direct reflection of his reality. Through symbolism, Mikal creates his own hieroglyphs with the hope of progressing human consciousness. www.SPALSPAL.bigcartel.com www.fokus.org |

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Awakening by Yogi Taji

Breathe

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My work connects to the theme of “awakening” because the souls in these photographs all represent a story of going within. Once you decide to go within you start to find darkness, light, memories, emotions and feelings that help you realize something. Something you didn’t know or forgot is now remembered and seen as newfound wisdom from self-awakening. My style of editing helps express the mood of spending time alone with nature and waking up to a new perspective of life and of self. 48 | www.fokus.org


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Yogi Taji dropped out of college before completing an Associate’s Degree because her consciousness began to grow around that time and she started to realize how messed up society’s conditioned systems are. She has been pursuing her soul’s dreams and helping others accomplish theirs, thus creating Soul Dreamin. www.SoulDreamin.com www.fokus.org |

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Pieces

by Henry Burgos

This painting was created to inspire others to look past the the things we use on a daily basis to separate ourselves from the world around us, such as our facial differences, our physical structure differences, our beliefs and cultural differences. Once we look past these things we can tap into what truly matters, which is what our soul tells us and enlightens us with. This is represented by the heart inside the gold cage towards the end of the painting. The natural setting is another form of our connection with nature and its purity. 50 | www.fokus.org


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Al Fin, Un Cuerpo, Solo Es (In the End, A Body, Is All It Is)

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See Through Me: Secrets of Nature This painting portrays the intimacy and deep connection we can create with the natural world around us, which we are a part of. It represents our true dependency on nature, as it also depends on us, and how together we can exist as one, prosperously. However, it also represents how blind we are to true existence without her natural eye, nature. As an artist and young man in a constantly changing world, Henry aims to influence consideration and promote creativity through artwork, which are factors that have proven to increase unity, communication, and generosity. Raised rich in love and culture, his near future goal of influencing the world to unite in providing everyone with the most basic needs such as shelter, food, and the education in preserving the natural world around us, seems closer with every brush stroke. 52 | www.fokus.org


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The Color Red By A.T. Luna

and we’ll ask ourselves “was it all worth it?” the pain, the sorrow, the destruction of a better tomorrow..? man, do you not understand that we were meant to live in harmony, not in agony, for the blood that we all shed is the same color red...

A.T. Luna, a Miami based artist, was raised with traditional values in her homeland. In the States, she was exposed to many experiences that allowed her deep-seated creativity to take a hold of her. www.fokus.org |

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Through My Eyes By Samir Shareef

Horn of Pride

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African Militant

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African Warrior

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Wise African Woman

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Cow As Dowry

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My Home

Samir Shareef is a Sudanese artist trying to show the beauty and weirdness of Africa through his own style. www.fokus.org |

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Thank You for reading INSIGHT: AWAKENING We hope you enjoyed the work shared with you. The theme for the next issue is: STRUCTURES Read more issues @ www.fokus.org/insight

INSIGHT: Awakening  

AWAKENING is focused on the act or concept of becoming aware of something. It can also focus on the lack of awareness. Awakening is connecte...

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