Xavier Kelley, Private Island, 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 30x 30 inches
Private Island depicts a young black man relaxing on a metaphorical beach. This work uses the concept of a private Island as a metaphor for the ways BIPOC are left on an “island” in society, left to fend for themselves. We are left exposed to the evils of oppressive structures and expected to succeed with no assistance. The word “Island” is written in such a manner that one can barely discern what it says, because as people of the African Diaspora, we are forced to decode the matrix that is modern day society. Finally, my background in athletics informs this piece. Being “left on an island” is a term in basketball used to describe guarding a player that is very quick and cunning. This references the ways Black and indigenous peoples must maneuver “athletically” through society in order to succeed.
Xavier Kelley is a 20 year old artist from Seattle, Washington. He specializes in abstract paintings that tells stories of athletics, movement of the human body, human interaction, and marginalized bodies. His work serves as a gateway into the mind of a young, black creative.