Privilege as Plastic Material

Taught by:
Kenya (Robinson)
6 Sessions

This class is being rescheduled- leave your email address with us here and we will let you know when the new dates are set.

Click your heels three times, hold the feather tight and “never leave home without it” — Dorothy, Dumbo and Dave (aka the #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET) each use objecthood as an embodiment of privilege. Culture has long depended on things to communicate deep meaning, illicit attraction and create opportunities. So, if privilege can be embodied by an object, could it also be molded, carved or cast? Instead of just existing as a nasty by-product of The Ism (racism/sexism/class-ism/able-ism/ageism), what if privilege was plastic material, with the potential to be formed into more empowering shapes?

In addition to assigned readings and viewings, Privilege as Plastic Material offers a six week experiment to explore sculptural techniques during class meetings, complete performative homework and interact with simple technologies that challenge the invisibility of privilege. Each meeting will feature a course lab to get students casting, performing, creating, and sharing together. If Dumbo was fooled by a feather, and Dorothy Gale could’ve gone home at any moment, then we can each have a #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET as a reminder that privilege can be shaped into whatever we desire.

Privilege as Plastic Material refuses the typical argument of giving up privilege. It’s not a toy that white people broke and now no one can use it, or something that people of color have no access to. Or a shameful residue that locks the gears of authentic conversation. It is a lump of clay, chicken wire and newsprint, a block of wood, plaster — possessing a multitude of sculptural possibilities that we all can use.


Kenya (Robinson) is a community-taught artist from Gainesville, FL. An artist, international southerner, mischief maker and shit-starter, she was a resident of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s WorkSpace Program (2009–10), the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (2014) and the Triangle Arts Foundation in 2015. A member of the 2014 class for the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, she currently co-hosts #trashDAY, a livestream radio show produced by Clocktower Productions. In addition, her sculptural work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the 60 Wall Street Gallery of Deutsche Bank. Her sculpture, Commemorative Headdress of Her Journey Beyond Heaven, was acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for their permanent collection in 2014. She has presented performance work at Sid Gold’s Request Room; MoMA PS1; JACK; The Kitchen; Thomas Hunter Project Space; The Museum of Modern Art. And, in 2011, her durational project, The Inflatable Mattress, was featured in the Home Section of The New York Times. (Robinson) has been a contributor to The Huffington Post and Intercourse Magazine. Most recently, she was included in the October/November 2016 issue of Modern Painters with her essay, “The Fate of Excellence”, and was the inaugural resident for Recess Arts’ online residency ANALOG. An iteration of her Creative Capital funded project, CHEEKY LaSHAE: Karaoke Universal, will be included in the Out of Line Series for the High Line during the Summer of 2017.