Kirk Henriques: Like Watermelon for Chocolate

619 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Jun 19, 2 PM - 4 PM — ends Jul 19, 2022
UNREPD is pleased to announce Like Watermelon for Chocolate, a solo presentation by artist Kirk Henriques, featuring a selection of abstract and figurative paintings in oil and acrylic on fiberglass mesh. Opening on Juneteenth, or Black Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, the exhibition will be on view through July 19, 2022.

At the center of this body of work is the watermelon, an icon ripe with socio-economic significance. The exhibition considers watermelon’s fraught history as a symbol of freedom and prosperity, as well as denigration and shame, for black people in America. After the Civil War, black people grew and sold watermelon as a way to support themselves in their newly-established independence. Because their success was threatening to the Southern social order, white people quickly stigmatized watermelon as a symbol of black laziness, uncleanliness, and childishness; this stigma persists through present day. In his paintings, Henriques seeks to reclaim the watermelon as an uplifting symbol of black independence across various contexts. Like Watermelon for Chocolate, then, is a meditation on the possibilities of freedom for black people.