Destiny Kirumira is both a visual artist and architect, completing a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Calgary this year. Kirumira was invited to TIMEPieces by Shana Wilson.
“Human” was inspired by Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the team gymnastics competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In an interview with her mother, she commented that although she expected backlash after choosing to take a step back, she marked it was the first time she felt human.
While Biles is a 7-time Olympic medal-winning athlete, at the start and end of each day she is first and foremost a human. As a Black woman, there are many injustices I either feel the need to or am expected to fight against. The moments I feel exhausted, or too tired to fight are often the moments I feel the weakest. However, I am reminded by Simone’s actions and through the actions of many other Black women, that my worth is not tied to my accomplishments or what people expect of me. My worth is inherently rooted in my humanity, which can never be severed from my soul.
I chose to paint Simone in a way that wasn’t hyper-focused on all her accomplishments or her reputation as an Olympic gymnast. In doing so, I hope to celebrate and emphasize how valuable her rest is.
Building a better future means creating a future where Black women don’t have to defend their humanity, but instead are celebrated for cherishing it.
About the Artist
Destiny Kirumira is a Black visual artist and architect. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Alberta in 2018, she completed her Master of Architecture at the University of Calgary in 2021. This year she will be beginning her PhD at McGill University which centers on the history of Black settlements in Canada. As both an architect and artist, Destiny’s work attempts to uproot and reconcile the roots of racism in both fields with a current emphasis on Black spaces and narratives. Ultimately, her art poses questions surrounding race, gender, and politics with the aim of enlightening those of us who have chosen to turn a blind eye to the world’s most grotesque injustices.
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