Kennedi Carter: Flexing/New Realm

Independent Weekly Gallery

The verb “to flex” essentially has one of two meanings. It can mean to show off, to gloat, or to boast, which is the most popular definition of the word; however, it can also mean to put on a fake front, to fake it, or force it. The second definition is usually used in conjunction with the first — as in, someone who’s gloating about something that they’ve really got no right to gloat about, lying about an accomplishment, or exaggerating the truth.*

Kennedi Carter (b. 1998) explores ideas of Blackness related to wealth, power, respect, and belonging in her new series of photographs. Carter dressed friends and acquaintances in historically-inspired costumes that represent wealth and power. History is referenced, rejected, and reimagined. The images compel us to ask questions: How can looking back in time move me forward? Who and what represents wealth? Does money mean respect? Where do I fit? What assumptions do I make based on appearance? Who is flexing? What is underneath wealth and power? What makes me feel seen? Where do I belong?

The images were shot on a Mamiya RZ67 and in a studio created for the exhibition at CAM Raleigh as well as on location in Carter’s hometown of Durham. This is her first solo museum exhibition and is part of an ongoing series.

*from What Does “Flex” Mean In Slang? Or, Why Both “No Flex Zones” And “Flex Friendly Zones” Are Necessary by Mehak Anwar, Bustle, May 12, 2015



With Gratitude:

AV Metro • Themeworks • RAD Graphics • The Beautiful Project • Nikki Courie • Precious Lovell • Through This Lens • Mavis Gragg • Mary Beth Paulson, House of Landor • Cassandra Pressley • Mariana McAnu• Joshua Laney • Avonte Liles • Gemynii • Valentine Ndambiri • Shahqeel McCrimmon • Tamika Myers • Gemini • Meech McConnel • Fred Beaujeu-Dufour • Stephanie Bowens • Charman Driver • Chris Myers • Evita Loca • Fred Joiner • Pan II Creative: Napoleon Wright • Chris Charles • Mez • Katie Rant • Ella Ann and Frank B. Holding Foundation • Studio TK • Mohawk Group • Robert P. Holding Foundation • Lewis R. Holding Fund of the NC Community Foundation • SureVest Insurance Group • The Hartfield Foundation • CAM/now • The ARTiculators • The Betty Eichenberger Adams Society

Education and community programs are funded by The Goodnight Education Foundation and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. CAM’s Spanish Language Initiative is funded in part by Bank of America. Accessibility Initiatives are funded in part by the Jandy Ammons Foundation. Museum Access for Kids is funded in part by the Carolina Hurricanes Kids N’ Communities Foundation. The CAM to Go Initiative is funded in part by The Asha and Sajjan Agarwal Foundation.

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