Cover art for podcast The Institute of Black Imagination.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

61 EpisodesProduced by darioWebsite

Welcome to The Institute of Black Imagination hosted by artist, writer, and designer Dario Calmese. Each week we bring you conversations from The Pool of Black Genius: a collection of iconoclasts at the leading edge of cultural thought and innovation. We are here to inspire, engage, and to help you … read more


E8. Torkwase Dyson, Artist.

Today’s episode is with painter, sculptor, and multi-hyphenated artist, Torkwase Dyson.

Born in Chicago Illinois, into a family embedded with scholars and artists of many forms, Torkwase found her artistic path while studying Sociology at Tougaloo College, later receiving her Bachelors of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonweath University and her Masters at the Yale School of Art.  Her work is about the reimagining of black compositional thought, while exploring shape and form as it relates to black bodies in space.  In Torwkase’s words, “The works are deconstructions of natural and built environments that consider how individuals negotiate and negate various types of systems and spatial order.”

This multi-disciplinary approach was on full display during her show, “Nautical Dusk” which debuted at the Colby Museum of Art in the fall of 2018. Her sculptures, paintings, and geometric forms depicted the life of Samuel Osborne, a janitor at Colby College at the turn of the 20th century, who was born into slavery. Using Osborne’s text obituaries written by white authors this exhibition raised questions concerning creation, conveyance, and autonomy. In 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Studio Museum Wein Prize, and in 2020 she was added to the roster of the influential Pace Gallery. Torkwase continues to explore the language of structural constructs, black activism, and what it means to be and live in blackness.

During our conversation, we discuss the role language plays in her practice, how art allowed her to express her innermost being, why one must ALWAYS be prepared, and what black genius means to her. Recorded during lockdown, this eloquent conversation is one for the books. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, an artist of many forms, Torkwase Dyson.

Links we mention in the episode:

Torkwase's Instagram: @torkwasedyson

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