PODCAST EPISODE #1 INTUITION [TRANSCRIPT]
The following is a transcript of Manifestations of Yaya Episode#1 on Intuition feel free to listen to the audio here
Hello, welcome to Manifestations of Yaya. I'm your host Kenyatta A.C Hinkle, also known as Olomidara Yaya. Thank you so much for joining us for our very first episode of this entire endeavor. I'm so excited to have you here, and to have you tuning into this ongoing project of mine. I've been wanting to do this project for a very very long time, and obviously it took for COVID-19 to transpire and for us all to be kind of shuttered away into our own sanctuaries, or bunkers, or whatever you're calling where you find yourself these days, and it is a powerful time. It’s a powerful time to experience awakenings on so many different levels.
About a year, two years ago I started this endeavor called Manifestations of Yaya in which I wanted to create a healing initiative for helping creatives to become catalysts within their own healing. So often as artists, creatives, and people who work in the creative sector, we're so used to putting on productions and doing all of these exhibitions and things for the public, and... you know, for targeted communities and audiences and all of these things, but so often we find ourselves kind of stuck and not really knowing which directions to take, or perhaps feeling empty after an exhibition comes down, or there's just so many different ways that we're kind of taught to cater to everybody else's needs and dynamics and the kind of healing that needs to transpire within our communities or within the canon, tackling colonialism and hegemony and the patriarchy and all of these various factors of dis/ease within our society, often times we kind of forget about the healing that we also need to do for ourselves. One of my favorite conversations with an amazing healer is that “our resources and our energy reserves are not unlimited”, and I quickly started realizing that there's so much that isn't taught to us in art school about healing methodologies that we need to utilize and how we need to take care of ourselves as creators and people who love creators.
I recorded so many different versions of this first episode because, to be honest, I really don't know where to start. There is so much that I want to talk about, there is so much that I want to continue to share with you all in this journey. There was so much that I kept bringing up into my head to prevent me from launching this project. Thoughts like nobody's going to care and nobody is going to listen, you're going to sound like this hooky kooky healer ghost lady. What does this have to do with the art world? What does this have to do with the healing world? What does this have to do with anything? You know how those voices...bless their hearts, they want to keep us safe, but they also want to keep us limited. So I have so many facets and ideas that I want to offer to listeners, and to people who tune in to Manifestations of Yaya (podcast), and I'm just really thrilled and excited to offer this first episode. Today I want to talk to you about using your intuition. Using your intuition has been a major component of my art practice. I am an interdisciplinary artist, which means that I love to work in various mediums. So often people ask me, “Well, what's your favorite medium?” and I never have an answer to that question because, I write, I dance, I draw, I perform, I cook, I sing, I— whatever the artwork needs to bring it into being—that's what I do. That's what I like to do. Each piece is different, each body of work is different, yet everything is connected. And a lot of the times in my everyday life I'm constantly tuning in to my intuition.
How does my body feel when I pick up this book? When I read this text? When I look at this video? When I stumble across this song? How do I feel? What's the energy that is surrounding it? What happens if I shift my perspective, and look at this tree that is calling out to me over here?
I'm always kind of taking in the environment and sometimes a little bit too much. I've had to learn how to create boundaries with that to kind of contain, you know the energies that are going on constantly, but using my intuition has taken me really far within my practice and it has become a medium of choice within itself. Actually, if I did have to answer that question I would say that intuition is my favorite medium. When I was in art school, using your intuition was a very negative thing. It was seen as this cop out in which you really didn't have the language and tools to be able to describe your artwork, and what you're doing, and what it's about, and how to use the critical theory to demonstrate your learning to your professors or the upper echelon people of the art world. What I quickly started to realize was “wow this is extremely hegemonic” there are so many different cultures and disciplines all over the world that make work only through intuition, they make work that's in communion with the materials that they're using, with nature, with their environments, with their community, and through colonialism those items were looted and put on pedestals and discerned as like this is high art or this is inspiration for high art and modernism and in all of those things that have you in terms of our relationship to colonialism and loot and then how those became markers for beauty or exoticism. I really started thinking about that, what does that mean for me to be in tune with my intuition and to use these practices that are blatantly considered to be taboo in a lot of senses, or dismissed as this is something that's just regulated to the femme aspect of being, a woman's gut, gut instincts, you can't make a work on feeling or – mind you, okay okay, I'm also going to say that there are some artists who only want to talk about intuition and feeling and “I just got inspired with this spark and it just hit”, they don't have the ability to use language outside of that, and I can see how that can be problematic too, but I like to engage with both worlds and both aspects of it. A lot of times when I'm preparing for an exhibition I don't know what the work is going to look like. I don't know what is going to transpire in the space whatsoever. I just know what I want the exhibition to feel like. I know what I want to feel when I'm creating the work and I know what I want the audience to feel when they're witnessing it. Sometimes it's about grieving, sometimes it's about joy, sometimes it's about conflicted emotions or feelings, and our relationship to history. What does it mean to witness the people in the photograph? What does it mean to witness the objects in this space? What kind of energies do I want them to give off? and then I go off of that.
So often all of the coincidences that aren't really coincidences coalesce, and I just give myself permission to go with the flow and to really become a channel of the work, and I let the work create itself with my intuition.
So often I'm not able to even unpack the work until weeks later, until months later, years later, sometimes a decade later, and I think that that's such a powerful component to what it means to be a creator...what it means to be on this journey, what it means to be open, to be a channel, to let the work actually guide you. Oftentimes we are taught, especially within the Western world, that we have to know everything. We have to know exactly what the work is going to be about, what it's going to look like, we have to be able to form all of these critical dialogues, and to master the tools... to master the techniques. Even the term “master”. I'm from the South, I'm from Kentucky, and that makes me shudder all the time. Even when I'm in meetings or talking with others and I'm like “okay we need to make a master document” that just makes me shudder in my body and my bones. This whole idea about mastering the language, if it isn't written down then it isn't real. If you can't prove it through science or all of these other mechanisms then it's not valid. I'm a huge champion of my intuition. Even me creating this podcast and wanting to reach out to people about these musings and these ideas, and to really come out of the closet in terms of being a healer and working with energy, and to see how that intersects with my art practice and art practices of others...this is me following my intuition. It's me letting my freak flag fly and really being guided by what I'm compelled to talk about and to do at any given moment.
It's all conscious, it all has a beautiful purpose and connection to it, but sometimes I may not know what that is. So I consider this podcast to be in part archive, in part musings, the interviewing of other artists to talk about their process, creatives, and helping people to demystify what it means to be an artist. In my opinion everyone is an artist, but I feel like within our society and from a very early age—this is from me witnessing working through K-12 settings—there are these major lobotomies of the imagination. It's like our imaginations are stripped away from us and we're just forced to learn how to be in the workforce, to learn how to support capitalism at all costs, and anytime one does want to engage with the sense of wonder, or intuition, or the imagination, and to explore, if we can't monetize it or think of it as having a solidified purpose within society then its not real, then it's not something that we should invest our time and our energy into. And then you have the flip side too, now you have artist that can be rock stars and make millions and millions of dollars, and this whole idea of people who do use their imaginations and are kind of tapped into their creative reserves that it's only for a select elite group of people to be able to do that. So, art is something that “I'm not able to do because I don't have those skills or I don't have that patience or I don't have that commitment”. A lot of the ways that I live my life and kind of encourage others to think about it too is what if we think about art as a life practice? What if we think about our life as a form of daily art making within itself? So often I think about my artworks as children that I'm raising. I am a mother, I have a seven-year-old child, and even before I physically became a mother I always considered my bodies of work to be like children that I was raising: they need to be fed, they need to be nourished, they need to be talked to, you need to watch them grow and to be very careful about the villages that you build around your practice when you're creating the works, and how much space you give them, and you need to allow the works to fail, and you need to allow the works to succeed.
It really is an intense journey to be a creative and I'm really interested in what happens when creatives also tap into how they can be catalysts for their own healing. Recently I've been asking myself what my art and my appreciation for art give to me, because so often we've been trained to consider the audience, consider the social impact that this work will have, or all of these different facets. I talk about these politics a lot. I am a Black womxn. I'm a Black womxn living in American society. So often, I challenge myself with asking what does my work have the power to do for me? This would be the last question that I would ever imagine, because it's about always considering the needs of other people historically and presently if you allow it to. So I am really considering all of these different modes, and I consider this podcast to be a form of retrieval.
How do we retrieve ourselves, especially in this moment of civil unrest, especially in this moment of the pandemic...the two pandemics that are raging? We have COVID-19 and we have the continuous pandemic that is racism, that is anti-blackness. So many different components of disease and illness and wounds, some serious wounds. Oftentimes when I find myself witnessing history in the making in these ways, I often feel so helpless. What am I going to do? What is my mark that I'm going to leave? How am I going to integrate the wisdom and the lessons of these moments? Oftentimes I turn to conversations...having conversations with others. And so I see these podcasts, these episodes from Manifestations of Yaya as an extended conversation. I like to ask a lot of questions of myself, and in return perhaps these questions can be a catalyst for you too.
What's haunting you right now?
What really excites you when you wake up in the morning?
How are you spending this quarantine time?
Are you struggling with the shift?
Are you trying to hold on to the colonial structures, or are you really trying to take advantage of the crumbling of Institutions? (The crumbling of this whole idea of normal.)
How are you letting this moment sustain you too?
I'm really really interested in that...What are the things that you're doing to sustain yourself, and how can you keep a record of that? So that if and when these things come up again, you'll have some kind of archive, some kind of archive of self. Some kind of medicine for you to refer back to. That's how I see these episodes, little pieces of medicine and musings and ways to really think about these larger questions within and outside of museums, exhibition spaces, and things of that nature. For me, the conversations that people have outside of the exhibitions, outside of these heavily curated spaces, for me that's the art. I love it when someone enters a room and they’re able to feel and deeply connect with my work, and then they go home and they tell their parents, they tell their lover, they tell their friends, they talk about it with their kids or with their nieces and nephews, other co-workers. For me that is the art, when the art can become this catalyst, especially within the moment that we’re in right now. I see all of these conversations as an extension of my art practice and a way to really think about how we can retrieve ourselves right now. In the midst of so much chaos in the midst of so many things crumbling what medicines do we have to offer ourselves in this moment?
So, I hope you continue to tune in. Like I said, I'm just following my intuition and seeing where each episode takes me. It may have a structure, it may not. I'm just really excited to start this endeavor and to just see what happens, so hopefully you will tune into the next episode. My name is Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, I’m the host of Manifestations of Yaya. Please feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com. Let me know what you think, if you have any questions, any suggestions of things you want to hear me talk about. I'm here in a variety of capacities and I'm just really excited to get started, so, here we go.