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The Radiance of Black Portrait Art: A Kendall Robinson Feature

Having multiple collaborations as a senior at Howard University, Kendall Robinson is progressively making a name for herself in the art industry.

Kendall Robinson pictured with her “Divine Creation 3”.

Having multiple collaborations as a senior at Howard University, Kendall Robinson is progressively making a name for herself in the art industry. Being in complete control of her artistic ability and using it to inspire others is her passion.

Robinson is a young Black creative looking to shine the light on Black stories. By looking up to artist Kehinde Wiley, who is known for painting the famous portrait of former President Barack Obama, the young artist found her passion in painting portraits.

“I am heavily inspired by Kehinde Wiley, I love the way he depicts the Black body and Black people in general, and that is how I got into portraits,” Robinson said. 

Starting in grade school, Robinson knew that art was her passion, but it wasn’t until one professor encouraged her to pursue it as a full-time career. With only 3.4 percent of Black people being successful in the art industry, Robinson found motivation through other black artists. 

“Being at Howard was the first time I was able to meet the successful Black artist. Professor Anderson motivated me to pursue art full time through his lectures. Learning under him has been extremely influential,” Robinson said. 

With art being a form of expression, many African American artists depict how they feel about the Black diaspora. After seeing this in art, Robinson decided that she wanted to change the narrative. 

“As a Black artist It’s our duty to add new narratives to the Black story. As I moved around and saw the way that Black people are depicted in media and art, primarily it’s trauma based. As my personal motive, I don’t want to create art that is based on trauma, so hopefully, my paintings capture how dynamic, radiant, and intelligent Black people are,” Robinson said. 

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During the pandemic, Robinson created her artistic series called “Black is Beautiful.” It was a way for her to be productive during the pandemic shutdown. She started by painting some of her closest friends that attended Howard. 

“Divine Creation 1 is the first painting in the series and I would define this painting as a cultural reset for my career, only because it was my first time painting something that large,” Robinson said.

Robinson’s “Divine Creation 1”. Photo Courtesy of Kendall’s Art Collection

Robinson mentioned that another one of her favorite paintings was the “Candyman” mural. Earlier this year, Monkeypaw productions commissioned her to create a piece inspired by the movie “Candyman”. The piece “Metamorphosis” is showcased on the first floor in the administration building. With all of the artistic abilities within her, Robinson stated that this was not an easy task. 

“It was a very cool project that stretched me creatively. They only gave me 11 days to finish it so it was 12 hour days in the studio until it was done,” Robinson said.

Robinson pictured with her piece, “Metamorphosis”

Telling her story through her paintings is a gift that Robinson embodies. Through one portrait, she can tell a story. Her goal is to change the art world to make it more positive and beautiful for Black people. To see more of Kendall’s work, one can visit her website

Copy edited by Jasper Smith 


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