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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

Ancient traditions “unmasked” in Kennedy”'s dynamic ancient art masks

Interview with Alvin Kennedy by Howard McQuitter II

“My art reflects a blend of urgan and primitive themes, expressed in pen and ink drawings and rigid paper sculptures,” Alvin Kennedy says. “The latter most often take the form of unique masks that reflects my heritage and bridges ethnic communities.”

Alvin Kennedy is a sculptor-painter par excellence who concentrates on making African masks. While he worked as a social service counselor for youth in trouble, Alvin used his artistic talents.

Interviewer (Howard McQuitterll) (HM): How long have you lived in the Twin Cities?

Alvin Kennedy (AK): Since 1984. I was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

HM: You have an extensive mask collection. What are some of the shows you”'ve displayed your African masks at?

AK: The Soap Factory, Soul on Ice, Sabathani Center, Dignity Center at Hennepin Avenue, Methodist Church, Burnt Wood Gallery, Gallery 13.

HM: As an African American artist with your fine talent in Minneapolis, have you collaborated with other African American artists or other artists of color in the Twin Cities?

AK: Yes. I have worked with other African American artists with Soul on Ice.

HM: What is your next project and when?

AK: I change masks at Sabathani Center, Hennepin Methodist church and will again show masks at Gallery 13 in downtown Minneapolis.

HM: Before I end, I”'d like your not easy answer ”“ what do you think African American artists in general should bring to the social conscience in the 21st century?

AK: A way of defining black culture and bridge cultural divides.

To learn more about Alvin”'s artwork, or to purchase his work, contact him at

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