Andrea Mckenzie pose with her Bob Marley exhibit
By: Linda Branch
Visual artist Andrea Mckenzie may now live in Atlanta, Georgia but her bold, stunning works of art remain infused with her Trinidadian roots and Caribbean culture.
“My family legacy and Carnival is my foundation. I come from a lineage of creatives, from visual artists, jewelry makers, costume makers… My late grandmother was a natural born visual artist and pianist,” stated Mckenzie, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1984.
Visual Artist Andrea Mckenzie
“From an early age I started drawing and learnt how to build costumes. It’s imperative that I always incorporate my roots, as all of my creations has a piece of me embedded in my art form,” she added. Her colorful artworks, which have a mosaic-like quality to them, are mixed media.
“I use a range of different materials from seashells, glass , paint, feathers anything that’s fitting to achieve my desired vision at that time,” she explained in an interview with CEH via email amidst a busy schedule of producing original and commissioned pieces, promoting her work, making preparations for future US exhibits and everything else that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Age of Innocence
Her artistic transition from Trinidad to Atlanta has been great thus far. She stated, “I was ready to expand my brand and push myself creatively. I chose Atlanta because it is the number one destination for creatives and black women entrepreneurship.”
Mckenzie and her artwork, including a portrait of Atlanta’s African-American Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, has been featured on show One Atlanta Storyboard with Keith Whitney, the City of Atlanta’s chief content officer. Last year, the visual artist was part of the dual “Sankofa” exhibition, along with Ghana sculptor, Alfred Addo, hosted by the Mayor’s Gallery at City Hall. Mckenzie was also honored by another community organization in 2019 with The Black I Am “Power, Art & Creativity” Award.
Andrea Mckenzie at Sankofa exhibition
One of her pieces included in the “Sankofa” exhibit portrays a group of children laughing with almost palpable delight. The “childlike heart” piece “came to life after I came across the scripture Matthew 18:3 …Depicting the innocence and joy of children is truly a blessing.”
Another work entitled “I AM” shows a goddess-like female the artist states represents “empowerment and manifestation” and an understanding that what one speaks and believes after uttering the words “I Am” controls the decisions and shape of one’s life.
“If you believe you are powerful, if you believe you are capable of achieving great things – you will attempt great things. You can’t just speak the words. You must feel them…and you must believe them. Manifest it and it would become your reality,” observed the artist.
Taking inspiration from poet and writer Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter book of personal essays, the Trinidadian cited being encouraged to be “true” to herself and “live a life of fulfillment.” Mckenzie’s creative goals for 2020 are to continue to develop her artistic craft and incorporate literature to reflect her “identity as a Strong Caribbean Woman being born to live out loud through (her) creations.”
Mckenzie’s artworks, including a portrait of Angelou, can be viewed via her www.andreauniqueart.com website, and social media @andreas.heart on Instagram and Andrea’s Unique Art on Facebook.
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