Interview: Pamela Conyers-Hinson
Luca Curci talks with Pamela Conyers-Hinson during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
My artwork began with the telling of my story. The story of a Black woman, a Black mother, and a Black artist. My research began with the exploration of myself and how my creation of artwork to document my personal journey has empowered me. Although my practice is currently based solely on the visual arts, the use of storytelling through imagery and process is evident in my practice. It is my desire to tell these stories that have led me to create the sculpture, “Eve’s Apple”, which marks the beginning of my artistic exploration of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Working at the intersections of gender identity, nonverbal storytelling, communal healing my practice delves into the narratives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who experience the world through the lens of womanhood, in its many complexities and presentations. I’ve been using a collage method using textiles and exotic woods to create my art. Bringing together a variety of mediums to create art speaks to my understanding that as individuals we are created from a variety of experiences and these experiences help define who we are. My practice in itself is an informal story of the artistic practices and methodologies found across the Diaspora. These narratives and histories manifest themselves physically into forms created through wood and stone carving, bronze work, and collage traditions of Black America. Community and collaboration have, in recent years, played a crucial role in my practice. As I have moved into a practice that heavily incorporates the contemporary stories of BIPoC women, I’ve built an artistic community that heavily mirrors the richness of our narratives.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Pamela Conyers-Hinson – When I think about it, my mixed media collage path was mostly COVID driven. I’ve created mixed media art before like the piece “Maroc”, in which I used dyed alabaster powder, bronze dust, and sand from the Sahara Desert. This is the first time approached art using fabric and wood veneers. I used this new approach to create artwork based on personal and shared experiences. I knew I wanted to translate these ideas into artwork, but I felt I didn’t have the time to map out the creative process. Once COVID happened, I suddenly had more than enough time to create art. Since the world was basically shut down, I had to use what I already had at my studio. The first of the mixed media collage series was, “Daydreaming”, followed by “Hear My Prayers”, “Deep Down in My Soul”, “Body and Soul”, “Jammed Packed and Jelly Tight”, and “Cajun Moon”.
LC – What is art for you?
PCH – Art is my voice, my passion, my life, and my world. Sometimes I think of the creation of art as an obsession, because I’ve had many sleepless nights thinking about art. Art gives me the power to bring to light both personal and social issues without permission. For me, Art is a culturally historical way of sharing stories visually.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
PCH – I feel my artwork focuses on a couple of themes, my experiences as a Black woman, shared experiences of women of color, and the physical and cultural beauty of the Black Cultural Community.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
PCH – I can honestly say that my artistic style has changed immensely over the years. When I first began creating art, my only focus was on creating 3-D artwork, in bronze and alabaster. Because I’m very tactile, it is important for me to not only see transformation but feel it also. My first love will always be bronze, but I knew if I wanted to grow as an artist, I had to step outside of my comfort zone and explore new ways of expressing myself artistically.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
PCH – I actually get a feeling of relief. There is also a sense of excitement, especially when my artwork turns out exactly the way I’ve envisioned it in my head at the beginning of the process. I just have so many ideas dancing around in my head, that sometimes the excitement is short-lived. There is always another idea waiting to be born.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
PCH – The whole idea of the human body speaking through movement and how it becomes art just by occupying space is a beautiful concept. I’ve always viewed the human body as a living sculpture. Once the body is in motion, and there is an audience, it becomes performance art.
LC – Can you explain something about the performance you held in our exhibition?
PCH – I have three pieces of artwork currently on exhibit at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space. Being selected to participate in The Body Language 2021 continues to be an amazing experience filled with new opportunities. Being part of an international exhibition that brings artists and artwork from around the world together is a dream come true.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
PCH – I’ve never heard of ITSLIQUID or The Body Language 2021 prior to receiving an e-mail from Veronica Piras. Once I researched ITSLIQUID and its role in the arts community, I was very impressed. The venue selections, documentation of past exhibitions, and interviews from past exhibition participants were reassuring.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
PCH – This is my first international exhibition, so I had multiple questions. I reached out to Veronica and she responded to my e-mails quickly. The Body Language 2021 exhibition is a perfect fit for the artwork that I’m currently creating. I learned so much about the international exhibition process and I’m looking forward to being invited to more international exhibitions.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
PCH – I am not sure if this is already part of ITSLIQUID’s process but, sending participating artists a copy of the exhibition program would be a great idea. I also think helping artists find funding to participate in international exhibitions would be helpful. I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Kaneko here in Omaha, NE.