Monica Hicks-Jenkins

“My goal as an artist is to reach those who feel they too are in between the margins. As a multiracial woman of color in this society today, I am interested in our differences, and the complexity of our similarities through the use of visual history and storytelling. The way personal agency is passed along from generation to generation has its slippages and the way history is documented, taught, displayed, and projected within culture, down to the level of socioeconomic differences, affect what we know and how we know it. I aim to share what I know…through visual art and human interaction.”
— Monica Hicks
Monica Elayne Hicks is an artist, educator, and event planner, living and working in the Los Angeles area. Hicks focuses on her traditional drawing skills coupled with basic ‘science’ and curiosity of surface characteristics to describe her perspective and lack of experience as a woman of color in American society through the photographic history of her ethnicity. Her works are about the paradigm between integration and difference. Her education is based in biochemistry with an emphasis in pathology, but she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in visual art from the California Institute of the Arts.
“Nothing But Net is a visual euphemism. A critique of a flawed system that encourages young boys, particularly African American boys, to use their bodies as vehicles of success in basketball careers, rather than their intellect and accumulation of knowledge for other avenues of achievement. Black & white photography is a means to identify a time that I cannot access in any other way. I make use of these images to investigate the issues of being a person of color in America, with all of its history of slavery, civil rights, and segregation. My displacement due to the gap between my own experience as a woman of color and the implied experience because I am a woman of color is my focus for exploration.
My overall body of work alludes to several sources of memory, history, and cultural stereotypes. I engage the viewer visually and intellectually with juxtapositions of photographic histories and a play on words to articulate a unifying idea within one frame. My work is about the lack of personal agency in regards to cultural and historical traditions. I connect my personal and cultural histories by ascertaining the difference between memory and history. My work alludes to the level at which we are engage history due to its erasure and its opaqueness. There is a historical context that we remove and it is this context that we forget; an important reason for why I chose elements from historical photographs with contemporary issues to address the context.”
— Monica Hicks


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