Hussein Kirkland

Spy Boy (Purple Suit), 2009
Pearlized glass seed beads (size 06/0), rhinestones, and faceted acrylic gemstones hand sewn on canvas and cardboard. 20‐30 different colors used. Ostrich plume and marabou feather trim.
Price on Request
Suits built by Downtown Indian Tribes, which traditionally represent either African or abstract themes, are a type of soft sculpture as they utilize three dimensional (3‐D) components to construct the suit. The body of the suit is normally constructed as one piece and is decorated with numerous 3‐D medallions or broaches on the front and the back, usually using sequins rather than beads. The bodies of Downtown suits are generally less bulky than Uptown suits. This suit (“Spy Boy”) consists of the follow pieces: (i) mask/crown; (ii) vest; (iii) pair of shoes; (iv) pair of spats; (v) pair of shoulder pieces; (vi) arm piece; and (vii) staff.
The suit of a Spy Boy is meant to be nimble as the Spy Boy is responsible for running ahead of his Big Chief and the tribe to scout for other tribes participating in the ceremonial battle in the streets and to report back to his Big Chief via the Flag Boy. This African themed Spy Boy suit is an excellent example of his position. The “crown” in this case is an Afro‐centric mask. The elephant medallions celebrate African imagery. The upper front medallion further illustrates his creativity in that the African continent also describes a partial face: an eye, nose and mouth. The artist is known for his exclusive use of pearlized glass seed beads on his pieces.