Write Around PAM: Kehinde Wiley

An almost full-length portrait of a young, dark skinned man against a colorful, floral background. The figure is shown standing, facing the viewer or artist with the arm at left raised and bent at the elbow to create an L shape while holding a long stick of bamboo. The bamboo rests on the individual’s neck and shoulder, passes behind his head and is seen extending to the right of the figure. The arm at right is held out from his side and in his hand is a white towel. The figure gazes directly out, head turned slightly to the right with a neutral expression. He wears a backwards blue ballcap and a blue t-shirt with the Portuguese phrase “Bleo, carioca de coracao”. He wears knee length light blue shorts on which are printed phrases and large letters in black. The portrait ends at the figure’s mid-calf. Surrounding him are large blue and yellow flowers with green leaves on an orange background. The overall effect is very busy. Some of the floral pattern is superimposed over the figure’s shorts at the lower hem and hip area and the shirt at the mid-section.

Art invites us deeper into stories. Writing is an especially powerful way to slow down, connect and explore those stories. We invite you to spend some time today with this piece by Kehinde Wiley, noticing what comes up as you put pen to paper. Before or after you write, take some time to learn about Wiley’s life and art.⠀

We have some prompts to help you get started. You can choose one, both, or follow your own adventure. Set a timer for 7 minutes and just keep the pen moving. 

“Where have you been?”… / From the fields of flowers… 

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past posts from each Sunday in May and look for continuing weekly posts in June and July. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Indio Cuauhtemoc (World Stage: Brazil), 2017, oil on canvas, 107 x 83 x 3″, Collection of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer. Image courtesy Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, L2017.112.1

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