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RE-claiming Kulture thru Kreativity with Khali

Every now and then in my travels, I come across a GEM. 

Why strolling through the Craft Market I found myself in a spot that stood out from the rest of the trinkets and specialty items. Premium ostrich leather bags layered with zebra fir patches, colors of Mahogany, Beige and Black firmly stretched and tied along the side of Messenger Satchels, Pouches, Purses, Chairs and even a fully framed piece of Art work with the story of African capture and enslavement etched into the material hung on the back wall. It was powerful. And I felt honored to experience such quality pieces of work in a casual and intimate place such as a Carifesta XIV.

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I stood at a distance for a moment gazing at the sight and taking it in, recognizing that where I was Sacred and Godly. I approached a tall gentleman sitting calmly on a chair hovering over something he was reading and asked him about his work. There was description, his Artistic Statement that pointed to which proclaims his intent and purpose behind the work, not as action but as a state of being and expression of his humanity. 

"I am an artist. This is not something that I do, but - with all humility- it is who I am.While I am neither imbued with the power of Kreativity, nor the ability to create, I am a vessel through which the Spirit of Kreativity flows. Art means different things to different people but the same thing to different artists, which is simply an attempt to respond to the Mastery, the Misery, and the Mystery of life.  This work is bigger than I am; that I have come to know. The art is the vehicle and the work begins where the vehicle takes me."

Khali shared with me that he was self taught. He'd studied architecture in school before coming to realize that his passion was deeply rooted in the Arts and so he learned this new trade. Aspects of his studies can be found in the art pieces, the infrastructure, layering, variation in use of texture and more... 
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What I enjoyed most about Khali Keyi and his Gallery is the authenticity, the openness and experience of an African Journey that seemed resilient and timeless. Today, we see the audaciousness of how African culture is being mocked, copied, exploited and displaced for political and economic gain. For Black Americans the identity crisis that we faced each day is as a result of slavery and its descendant, systematic racism, poverty, propaganda, multi-media influences and poor education. Their exposure the a true African experience in diluted and/or limited to cheap merchandised African patterns and prints found in retail stores, that have nothing more than the price tag and return policy attached to it. 


"Each piece made under the insignia Keyi Ko Afrikan Arts has been crafted by my hands, without the use of machines" -Khali
However the thoughtful pieces of leather braided wristwear or a pair of earrings by Keyi Ko Afrikan Arts shares a rich history and existence of our being as African descended people. They each hold a meaning and weight both in the process of creation symbolizing our need to heal and recover what was lost along the journey to a new lands, such as our Essence or Spirituality, Traditions and our Name. Africans were forced to identify and attached themselves to Eurocentric ideals, to associate themselves with the ways of their Masters and to conform by adopting these ideologies as their own in order to survive and find freedom. However, we as children of that brokenness, terror and destruction have a responsibility to redeem ourselves from that curse and heal the Wounds that have been open for centuries. By creating arts that celebrates who we are, honors the past as part of our future and taking ownership through craftsmanship, Keyi Ko Afrikan Arts does just that....

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The Statue protects the Spirit and Sanctity of his Gallery. 
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