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Kevin Sampson, Artist in Residence

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Monument Man: Kevin Sampson in Residence
C. D. Mallory Building
June 30, 2018-Spring 2019

This summer Mystic Seaport Museum inaugurated its artist residency program with leading American artist, Kevin Sampson of Newark, New Jersey. Beginning in June, Sampson was embedded at the museum, living aboard a vessel docked at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, and fully engaged with our community in the lead up to an exhibition of his work.

Sampson began his career as a police officer in New Jersey, and was the first African American composite police sketch artist in the United States. Following that career, he developed a unique artistic practice transforming found materials such as cement, bones, tiles, fabric, paints, and wood into powerful sculptures that speak to family, memory, and loss through the lens of the African American experience. Sampson feels a strong connection to maritime culture, stating, “my love of ships, salt, and the sea is limitless.”

In addition to his existing work, Sampson made a new art installation on the membership patio, inspired by the Newark Ark of Kea Tawana, and using materials from Mystic Seaport Museum. Visitors will be invited to watch the artist at work, and to engage with him as he draws the very fabric of the museum into a new and powerful vision of the American maritime experience. A selection of Sampson’s other works will be on-display in the adjacent C.D. Mallory building. The new artwork, entitled USS Kye Kye Kule, will join the others in the gallery at the end of his residency.