The Rapidian

ArtPrize artist feature from UICA: Kyd Kane

Kyd Kane is a poet and spoken word artist from Grand Rapids, MI. Kane's most recent work, broke(n)hunger is an original spoken word poem that reflects on the artist's own experiences with food and her connections to and observations of food systems.
Kyd Kane performing at UICA's Oddball 2017.

Kyd Kane performing at UICA's Oddball 2017. /Coutesy of Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Underwriting support from:
Kyd Kane at UICA

Kyd Kane at UICA /Coutesy of Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Kyd Kane at UICA

Kyd Kane at UICA /Coutesy of Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts invites you to learn more about West Michigan's creative workforce, neighboring cultural organizations, and about ways to engage with Grand Rapids' art-scene with interviews and guest features highlighting our local and regional community members. Visit uica.org/learn for monthly interviews.

Kyd Kane is a poet and spoken word artist from Grand Rapids, MI. Kane's most recent work, broke(n)hunger is an original spoken word poem that reflects on the artist's own experiences with food and her connections to and observations of food systems. Kyd Kane also performed an original work, Communing Hearts, as a welcome to the Heartside Community Meal: A Public Art Project by Seitu Jones.

Tell us a little about the work that’s on display at UICA. Have you participated in ArtPrize before? What drew you to participate this year?

broke(n)hunger is a spoken word performance piece aimed to shed light on the issue of hunger in the United States. I am trying to expose audiences to the world of spoken word poetry by combining it with visual arts and using an intense subject, such as hunger, allows me to do just that. This piece walks audiences through the many different layers that make up the hunger epidemic in our nation and encourages them to get involved to help break it.

I have been interested in visual arts for some time and have dabbled in it here and there but this is by far the most in depth visual work I’ve done to date. The transition wasn’t difficult once I completed the poem. There were a lot of visual elements that just came naturally through the words. The biggest struggle was narrowing down my ideas. There was so much I could do with the piece, it was tough deciding on a single direction to take it.

UICA’s exhibition is centered around food. Does your work use food as a theme or lens traditionally or is this new territory for you?

While the food theme is new in my work, the lens I used to address it is very familiar. It’s more like food for thought. My work focuses on my individual journey for learning and growth. I try to use my words to encourage my audience to dig deep within, until acknowledgment of self becomes second nature. That’s been the most important part of my journey and has brought about so much personal evolution. I hope my poetry inspires others to do the same.

Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?

Everything I do is in accordance to cultivating my best existence. Each day, I am touched by someone or something that makes me take a look at what that means. The change in my perception of thought came when I was introduced to the practice of mindfulness. I was in search of living beyond my circumstances and practicing mindfulness opened up a level of strength within that allowed me to do so. Through mindfulness and meditation I was able to discover the power of the mind and how strong positive thinking is. Thoughts become things is a recurring theme in my poetry because it has become my way of life.

Where else have you exhibited your work? Is there a project or exhibition that stands out in your mind as your greatest accomplishment?

Opening the door for my art to be a part of anything significant is an accomplishment in itself. Having the opportunity to share my words in spaces where spoken word has never been or isn’t traditionally presented, has allowed me to expand my reach in ways that I could have never imagined. There isn’t one performance that stands out more than another because they’ve been so diverse but I will say, my relationship with UICA has been a catalyst for some of my most memorable experiences.

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I am looking forward to the release of my first book, titled “Sh*t Kyd Said”, in early 2018. It’s a collection of my work over the past 2 years. It will include many of my known performance pieces as well as a lot of unreleased works. In addition to that, I am currently working on expanding my visual arts work, taking my poetry from the page to the canvas. I’m excited to be partnering with local galleries to showcase my work and make it available to the public.

Looking for more?

Learn more about the artist here.

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