About Hank

Authentically Black storytelling is rooted in something that cannot be defined in words. I don’t try to tell stories. I try to encourage other people to tell stories, or to plant seeds for people to tell stories. Within my work I am always, hopefully, asking more questions than telling stories, because I don’t know how to tell a story in a linear way. The authenticity for me is what’s my ambivalence about narrative and the questioning of the framework that our stories are told, because I’ve always struggled with narratives around Blackness. Blackness was not created by Black people, it was created by Europeans with a commercial interest in having a subhuman brand of person. So, I’ve always taken issue with Blackness as a concept. Although, as an African-American, I can’t avoid my relationship with a certain kind of Black identity. It’s important to recognize that there are about one billion kinds of Black identities.

I resist the notion that the Western American or even European art world is the art world. If anything, we should embrace about non-western traditions of art, is that art isn’t something that you put on a wall. It is life. That’s why I say I’m not an artist, I’m a person. I don’t have a problem with both seeing something and questioning it. That’s my relationship to Blackness. In order for us to be free, us as any person, we have to resist the stories they tell us about ourselves and about everyone else.