Photo credit: Gioncarlo Valentine

Ep.133 features Kevin Claiborne, a multidisciplinary conceptual artist whose work examines intersections of identity, social environment, & mental health within the Black American experience. Moving between collage, silkscreen, photography, painting, and sculpture, while frequently using language as material, Claiborne is interested in finding new ways to look at history and its connection to the present. Claiborne holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the historically Black college North Carolina Central University (2012), an M.S. in Higher Education from Syracuse University (2016), and an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2021).

Claiborne is currently living and working in Harlem, New York City.

Artist Statement

Currently, my work focuses primarily on intergenerational trauma and memory, mental health within the Black experience, and psychological burdens related to or around identity development. I am interested in using history to find new ways of looking at and understanding the present. Starting with the gaps in my own family history, and the space between ‘what I know vs. what I should know’, the missing information between where my ancestors come from and where I am today, I am digging and mining the sediment of histories, passed down, erased, and avoided.

I often use image and text together, using language as material, constructing and deconstructing sentences into new poems and formations, playing with legibility to change the ways in which the images and text function, both together and individually.

In practice, I use found images from my family archive and my personal book collection, reappropriating text from sociological essays and textbooks, and incorporate several different mediums such as collage, photography, silkscreen, and painting; conceptually, my work joins broader conversations about the reframing of history, and the importance of narrative ownership as a means for survival.


OSMOS Gallery

The Print Center

Columbia University

Thierry Goldberg

MFA Index

understand me, 2020
Silkscreen ink on wood panel 48” x 60”
Courtesy the artist

nothing wrong, 2022
Archival inkjet print 36” x 24”
Courtesy the artist and

untitled (unconformity), 2022
Earth and paint on wood panel 24” x 18”
Courtesy the artist

negro problem, 2022
Archival inkjet print 36” x 24”
Courtesy the artist and