See also: Who is the boy?
Masculinity plagues our existence. For those who fail to fit into its ridged demands masculinity becomes a dog that barks at us. Hounded, our bodies become less, our voices less, our very corporeal existence becomes less. We shrink until our existence is undone. The masculine is ever present, it haunts us, berates and belittles us, it makes enemies of us, pitches us against one another.
should the boy be given the chance to thrive he contains a wonderment for life, a creative potential, a magical and fantastical vision, a cornucopia of dreams, a dazzling array of existences, a vast continuum to be explored.
Disturbing, playful and highly emotive Shikeith’s work uncovers masculinities and questions them. Not fitting into a certain kind of black masculinity and exposing the emotional experience of this, he unveils a world of fragile masculinities, wherein the male is vulnerable. Shikeith says of his work ‘I wanted to expose what it was like to be dressed in assumptions, before even opening your mouth to say hello’ and goes on to say ‘My work is a reflection of that internal battle all black men have to face when you're not necessarily seeing things in black and white, but rather in grey’.
Shikeith’s work is dealing specifically with the experience of being a black male, I think his work addresses the wider implications of not fitting into the guise of masculinity. He gives voice to a kind of emotional expression which is often quashed by social and cultural norms, and by ingrained gender and racial barriers.
Shikeith interview for NPR:
(Neely, P.2014. '#Blackmendream': Showcasing A Different Side Of Black Manhood. NPR [online]. Available at: