GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Chakila Hoskins has entered pieces in the world’s largest competition for each of its eight years, but this year is the first time she has been recognized by jurors.
Hoskins, who grew up on the city’s southeast side, is among five Grand Rapids artists on the Jurors’ Shortlist for ArtPrize Eight. She is on the Shortlist in the two-dimensional category for her oil painting, entitled “Transformation (Metamorphosis).” She couldn’t believe it when she learned she was a finalist.
“I was in shock. I was like, ‘What?’ Like, ‘Really?’” Hoskins said. “I started praising God.”
Her painting features her 5-year-old daughter, Shaiann. Though it is two-dimensional, Hoskins used a technique that makes it appear to be three-dimensional.
“It’s created in tones of gray, which is a technique called gresai — it’s a French term — and it’s what the ancient Greeks and Romans used in order to mimic sculpture,” she showed 24 Hour News 8. “I just love the way that it mimics sculpture. I love looking at sculptures.”
Hoskins called it “Transformation” because she says the girl is in a cocoon, allowing God to shape her.
“She’s looking down as a sign of fear, doubt and uncertainty and then in the second image, the figure is awakened. She’s bursting out of her cocoon. She’s looking out at you in confidence now, ready to go out in the world and serve her divine Lord,” Hoskins explained.
Her work is also accessible to the visually impaired. In addition to spending 130 hours on the painting, she spent hours creating a 3-D laser copy of the painting that people can feel.
Hoskins was at her venue explaining her work when the Shortlist was announced Monday night. Tuesday, 24 Hour News 8 showed her a clip of the juror explaining why her painting was chosen, complimenting the way she invoked “a classical tradition of Western art, going back to Greek and Roman statuary.”
“We are not used to seeing representations of young African-American women in Western art,” said juror Tina Rivers Ryan, a New York-based art historian and critic. “And I think that by inserting this little girl into this tradition, it draws attention to that absence. And I think that the way in the right panel, the girl is looking out at us … I see her gaze as an invitation to us to consider her, to recognize her, to acknowledge her.”
Hoskins was speechless after hearing the critic’s praise. She was so moved she broke down.
“It really touches my heart to hear her say all of that about my work,” she said, fighting back tears.
She is now eligible for the $12,500 category award and the $200,000 juried grand prize. She said that if she wins, she will donate some to her church and put the rest toward a home for herself and three daughters.
“Transformation” can be viewed at The Waters Center, located at 161 Ottawa Ave. NW.