to have never known
January 4 to June 30, 2022
Kehayr Brown-Ransaw’s exhibit to have never known is a presentation of quilts created by Brown-Ransaw based on his research about the trans-Atlantic slave trade that revealed the names of 43,191 children abducted and illegally sold into slavery from 1807-1870. During enslavement, Black and African communities in the United States largely documented themselves through quilting and various folk art crafts. As communities assimilated to whiteness these traditions transformed into necessary means for survival. Interpreting census research into visual language, this work uses the life cycle of a quilt as a meditation on its historical context, both from its use as currency by enslaved women to gain access to white society, and its use as a shroud for children in both life and death.
The MAAHMG Artist-In-Residence program is designed to give support, opportunity and exposure to Black artists working in Minnesota to create new works exploring Black history, art and culture. Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the Transformative Black-Led Movement Fund by Nexus Community Partners and Black Visions Collective, a donation from the Eulysses and Janet Aiken Fund (Ta-coumba Aiken), and a donation from Seitu Jones.
About The Artist
Kehayr Brown-Ransaw is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator based in Bde Óta Othúŋwe/Mnísota (Minneapolis/Minnesota). Brown-Ransaw’s practice engages in conversations of individualism v. collectivism, familial histories, concepts of gendered work, tradition, and Blackness/Black identity through quilting, weaving and printmaking. His curatorial and teaching practices are concerned with access, representation, and the presentation of marginalized communities. Brown-Ransaw received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He has exhibited work at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, FilmNorth, Vine Arts Center, BI Worldwide, with public works at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design Sculpture Garden. He is the recipient of a 2020/21 Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) Emerging Curator Fellowship, 2020/21 Jerome Early Career Fellowship, 2021 Franconia Sculpture Park Mid-Career Artist Fellowship, and 2021 Artist in Residence at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery. Additionally, Brown-Ransaw is an active and operating member of the People’s Library having exhibited works at and collaboratively in arts programming at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Soap Factory, Walker Art Center, and Minneapolis Institute of Art. He is the recipient of a FY2021 State Arts Board Creative Support for Individuals grant, 2020 Visual Arts Fund Community Relief Grant from Midway Contemporary Art on behalf of The People’s Library, and FY2020 Next Step Fund Award from the Metro Regional Arts Council.