Whitehot Magazine

A Letter to King David After Viewing Jamaica at 447 SPACE

Installation view. Courtesy of 447 Space. 

By DARYL KING November 13, 2023

After seeing King David’s recent exhibition, most of my daily actions felt so heavily controlled that I endlessly swore against being fused into the “American” definition of freedom. It is not the same as in the 1980s when oligarchs were fearless about their inability to respect someone who disagreed. It justifies being able to exclude others. When I first stepped into Jamaica, I was immediately reminded of my trips to Reykjavik and Cusco. Right in front of me were old-school Kodak camera photos of the artist’s country of origin. When I saw those photographs, I realized I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate King David’s best professional delivery as an artist. The exhibition, in totality, featured an expanse of emotions and exchanges that reflected his personal history. 

He was exploring the definition of what it means to have an advanced experience of being from an assimilation of various “cultures, peoples, and ways of life, that somehow breeds an entirely new yet familiar sense of pride and belonging out of a history paradoxically filled with torturous dehumanization and psychological torment.” It felt like I might have been befooled, having forced myself to endure the difficulty of understanding the meaning of words and how an artist chooses to respond to whatever the current political climate. I taught myself how to make a career out of a particular kind of vernacularism that is now a step backward from the new visual conversation started by King David. 

Installation view. Courtesy of 447 Space. 

These new works demonstrated a point where our similar backgrounds broke off into my conceptualization and King’s realization of contemporary art. It was the first time I felt accomplished as someone immediately thrust into the role of an arts administrator rather than only having the experience of an aspiring professional artist. The exhibition brought back a moment of nostalgia for the moment when I first had a studio and worked under new confines and constraints. I can only hope that the next generation of professional artists will have a similar realization that they might have achieved a lot more than they initially thought. 

After a continuous period of deprival, when resources became scarce, I focused on technique, theory, conceptualization, and work in praxis. King David’s creation allowed me to be released from confinement to finally admit that something is gone and a new mechanism is in place. Each canvas and oversized photograph awakened me from an unease I am no longer entitled to. David spent two years researching and expanding his practice beyond the first time we met at his pop-up exhibition. We immediately connected after realizing that we both worked in fashion. 

Installation view. Courtesy of 447 Space. 

My last role was in the Fall 2018, working for Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator. King David was formerly employed at Nike. Our lifestyles both led us to see how branding could be used to reverse the entire process. King David’s new work demonstrates precisely how contemporary painting can evolve from fascination to something with a pretext. It wasn’t until I saw what King was capable of that I became aware of how the circumstances changed, and all of my hardships and mistakes from the past were somehow sequenced well enough to be balanced out by Jamaica. 

I needed a reminder that anything is possible and I can do anything without consequences. Tenacity is a sense of identification that is well-represented across the board. Making art calls for an artist to cultivate their weaknesses by precipitating any form of exploitation. Artists are bred in confrontation because, as opposed to everyone else who consumes visual content, they create their own at such a huge risk. As you age, it becomes an easy cost to pay when you are working on a thesis to evolve in terms of both your practice and conceptualizing ability. 

King David: Jamaica is on view September 11 through October 20, 2023 at 447 SPACE. WM


Daryl Rashaan King

Daryl Rashaan King currently works as a Teaching Artist with Leap NYC; a Chef de Partie at CUT by Wolfgang Puck, The Four Seasons Tribeca; and the Vice President of the Asian American Film Lab. He is the founder/ principal of kokuoroi, a multidisciplinary creative studio. The studio focuses on problems derived from urban living, viewed through the perspective of King, a Brooklyn native. A graduate of Columbia University, who originally specialized in painting, some of King’s goals include obtaining both an M. Arch and an Expert Diploma in Culinary Arts. He would also like to pursue various art and design programs and to live abroad. King has already earned certificates from Parsons in Streetwear; completed part of the Sustainable Design Foundation at Pratt Institute; and volunteered in Cusco, Peru at the construction site of a new Lower School. His work has greatly evolved since taking an Information Architecture course focused on Future Cities, hosted by the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. A former varsity wrestler, King has hopes of learning and practicing new martial arts. When he isn’t working, enjoying music, or playing video games, King’s focus is on the future.

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