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FSCJ Art Galleries: Pikin.: New Works by Erin Kendrick

A digital rendition of FSCJ's art galleries.

Pikin.: New Works by Erin Kendrick

Erin Kendrick: On Pikin

In spite of the relentless adultification of young black girls, they are children first. To experience adolescence authentically without the intrusion of racial bias and spiritual, emotional, and physical violence is their absolute right. However, the idea that black girls are small black women is highlighted in various capacities in the US - disproportionate discipline rates for black girls in schools for subjective infractions, expectations of keeping family secrets in spite of sexual, emotional, and physical trauma, resistance to non-traditional gender identities, a lack of empathy in cases of black missing and endangered girls, incessant, unwarranted police violence, as well as the age-old myth of the black superwoman.  

Solutions to these disparities have been proffered in the form of fortified assimilation, complacent longsuffering, and apathetic disregard, but the emergence of what has been termed, Black Girl Magic, has presented itself as an effective solution. The term highlights a renaissance of black women and girls, reclaiming agency, and stepping from the margins to the center in the last 10 years. By centering the authentic lived experiences and the voices of black women and girls—as both salve and resolve to these disparities—we grant our black girls a fighting chance. 

Erin Kendrick: On Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince 

Michaela DePrince’s origin story is one of loss, disposal, and redemption, and personal absolution. Each the residue of the power of choice. Born Mabinty Bangura in Sierra Leone, as a child Michaela DePrince endured the tragic loss of her parents and abandonment by an uncle who considered her too ugly and too smart for his time. Often referred to as “pikin” meaning child, she was sold to an orphanage whose caretakers substituted punishment and shame for love. With the hope of being adopted into an American family, she persevered and found strength in standing up for her orphanage bestowed best friend, Mabinty Suma. Each considered outcasts among the children, young Michaela’s imagination and fortitude would win them both friends and eventually legal sisterhood by adoption. DePrince survived all of this before the age of five. Her story, like so many black girls, is one of resilience, and she has tendered her lived history as a beacon for girls like her. 

“Pikin” is for the Mabintys of the world. Fire-breathing dragons. Standing up for one another time and time again. 

See more of Erin Kendrick’s work at

Taking Flight 2020-21 Author Series - Printmaking Student Collaboration

The Author Series focuses on co-curricular learning around a memoir and the social themes addressed within.  The 2020-21 memoir, “Taking Flight” addresses themes of resilience in the face of adversity, including racism in the performing arts, body image, and war.  This memoir, which Michaela wrote with her mother, recounts her journey from war-torn Sierra Leone, orphaned and cast out because of her skin condition, to soloist with the Dutch National Ballet.  

Students and faculty spend the academic year reading the book and participating in lectures, discussions, social outreach and other projects inspired by the text.  On exhibit is one such project created by visual arts classes at the South Campus. 

Students in Printmaking I and II worked collaboratively to create a 4’ x 8’ block print addressing themes in the memoir by Michaela DePrince, “Taking Flight.” After discussing the memoir, students decided on what elements they wished to include in the final image, and how the elements would be arranged. 

The print was created by selecting a central image, tracing it onto a substrate (plywood), and then cutting the remaining wood into randomly shaped “puzzle” pieces. Professor Miko carved the portrait of Michaela (the central image in the print) and each student carved an image of their own creation onto a puzzle piece. When put back together, all the elements fit as one image.   

On the adjacent wall are the pieces of the “puzzle,” the individual blocks carved by each student. The blocks placed back in their original configuration, covered with a thin layer of oil-based ink, covered with muslin cloth and then rolled through a press, transferring the ink from plate to cloth and creating a mirror image of the plates.  Remnants of the ink can still be seen on the plates. 

Instructor: Patrick Miko 

Participants: Carlos Acevedo, Carissa Burchard, Xavier Coats, Brianna Crespo, Jasmine Green, Courtney (Charly) Guillaume, Morgan Janota, Zalina Lodivero, Daniel Miller, Francisco Ramirez, Taryn Towsley, Roseann Turner 

Virtual Tour of Pikin

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