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Nikia Kigler

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Suffolk, Virginia
Governor School for the Arts and King's Fork High School

Nikia's interests range from poetry to dancing, modeling to boxing, and she's been extremely active in student life at MICA, including serving as co-coordinator for MICA's BSU Fashion Show. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Riverview Gallery in Portsmouth, Virginia, and in other venues. Her long-term goal is to work as a photographer in the entertainment industry, continue her fine arts work, and possibly teach.

One of my favorite teachers at MICA is Leslie King-Hammond, who directs MICA's Center for Race and Culture. I loved her African Art Forms class. She has helped me grow both in my artwork and as a person questioning why I am interested in certain topics. Her classes have balanced what I've learned about executing my work from my studio faculty. Phillip Koch and Abby Sangiamo have helped me improve my drawing and pushed me to experiment technically in my work.

My work deals with the human body, and I'm interested in how much you can get from that one topic. This semester I'm focusing on body modifications, tattooing, scarring, body art/decoration. I've also spent some time exploring ideas about hair, about sexuality and how it relates to the body. MICA has opened me up to a new way of thinking about these subjects. Being around a diverse group of students allows me to pull in a lot from other people and compare their experiences with my own. Most of the time, my work addresses my personal experiences, but others offer a context that helps me figure out myself.

I went to the Jamaica study abroad program last summer. I traveled all over Jamaica and got to see a side most people do not see, and then I lived with a friend from Jamaica after the program was over, which let me stay a little longer. It did impact my work a lot. I was inspired by the artists I met there. Just the culture and the sights-it was a breath of fresh air away from the U.S.