Kikesa Kimbwala DeRobles


curated by Shameka Jones  

We are what We need
acrylic on canvas 
48 x 36 in.


La Nombraron Prieta
acrylic on canvas 
24 x 30 in.

You washed me and I was your son
acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 in.

The prefix dis
- lack of, not
- joined or linked together
- related by blood or marriage

Across the diaspora, we relate to colloquialisms such as "you knew you grew up black when..." or "only black people do..." that remind us of our vast kindredness. As you narrow the scope into each subculture, there lie more idiomatic references where we happily relate to one another under these shared experiences. But outside of cross-cultural connections or societal conjectures, we come to face one question. Who are you? Kikesa Kimbwala DeRobles, a Congolese-Mexican American artist, explores self-identity by examining her upbringing. In the exhibition (Dis)Connected, she shares this visual conversation across bold portraitures. In La Nombraron Prieta, Kimbwala DeRobles uses vibrant hues of red and yellow that captivates Mexican pride through traditional dancewear. But in the same piece, she also addresses the marginalization of Black LatinX people within the culture while highlighting the derogatory Mexican term Prieta. Other artworks throughout the exhibition also examine this dichotomy, even adding complexities of religion into the discussion. Her final artwork, We are what We need, reveals a reciprocated connection. The background fills with deep purples and sunset tones that symbolize cast-away projections. Triumphantly, each figure faces head-on in the foreground to embrace their singularity while supporting each other.

You may also find an installation of this work at Cafe con Libros Press in Pomona, CA.

Las Primas Negras
acrylic on canvas
60 x 48 in.

Kikesa Kimbwala DeRobles is a Los Angeles-based artist of Mexican and Congolese heritage. Her  cultural upbringing heavily influences her practice and is referenced throughout her artworks. From  religious contexts to family figures, Kimbwala DeRobles lets you in through a small window of her  life. She waters down acrylic paints, immersing you in a sea of emotions. But you never seem to  drown in them as your eyes scan across each piece. Also interested in textures and layers, she goes  back and forth between layering colors to make sure there are no solid shades. Kimbwala DeRobles intends to bring out movement and lack of stability. But still, she leaves room for development  within cohesive forms.

(Dis)Connected was curated by Shameka Jones, an art professional and overall digital nomad who loves connecting with artists.

For inquiries, please contact:

Artist: Kikesa Kimbwala DeRobles ︎
Curator: Shameka Jones ︎

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