CHEEKY LaSHAE: Karaoke Universal
Kenya (Robinson) investigates gender, consumerism, and ability through unexpected performative actions and sculptural gestures.Artist Bio
“CHEEKY” is a glittering sack of stars that exists as an avatar to be embodied by a revolving cast of individuals. By evoking the history of drag performance, glitter, reflection, puppetry, model-making kits and social media, CHEEKY LaSHAE: Karaoke Universal uses the structure of a college-level course to perforate the boundaries between audience and performer. To date CHEEKY LaSHAE is a heavy metal performer, self-help guru, sex worker, motivational speaker, author, fashion icon, educator, KJ, financial planner and interior designer. The syllabus highlights the conceptual origins of these roles, while offering students a platform to contribute to CHEEKY’s evolving narrative. The curriculum includes hands-on sculptural projects, readings, guest speakers, “Google-search-vortex-maps,” hashtag creation and social media group projects. The final project for the course is the performance of CHEEKY LaSHAE, as interpreted by the individual student and filtered through their online medium of choice.
Kenya (Robinson) is a community-taught artist from Gainesville, Florida. A socialite, philanthropist, international southerner, mischief maker and self-described shit-starter, (Robinson) investigates gender, consumerism, and ability through unexpected performative actions and sculptural gestures. (Robinson) is incredibly committed to his craft, from her 13-week couch surfing performance work, The Inflatable Mattress, to the #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET, in which the artist carried a small, corporate-clad, plastic figure as a talismanic reminder that “white male heteronormative supremacy is an idea not restricted to phenotype, gender, orientation, or nationality.” Similarly, (Robinson)’s work seeks to help his audience reevaluate their place in the hierarchy of gender, race, and privilege.
In 2018, (Robinson) won the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art, presented by The Orlando Museum of Art and underwritten by Gail and Michael Winn. Her sculptural work has been exhibited at Pioneer Works, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Aljira and the 60 Wall Street Gallery of Deutsche Bank. His sculpture, Commemorative Headdress of Her Journey Beyond Heaven, was acquired by the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture for their permanent collection. She was the inaugural resident for Recess Arts’ online residency ANALOG and NUTUREart’s pilot residency program. (Robinson) has been a contributor to the Huffington Post, Modern Painters, and, most recently, the Opinion section of The New York Times. (Robinson) won an Emerging Artist Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation in 2015.