Kerry James Marshall Collaborates with Wales Bonner on Collection | David Zwirner
A detail of a photograph by Tyler Mitchell of Wales Bonner and Kerry James Marshall’s limited edition capsule collection, featuring a T-shirt with a detail from Marshall’s 1993 painting Lost Boys: AKA Black Sonny, dated 2022.

Kerry James Marshall Collaborates with Wales Bonner on Collection

Proceeds from the limited edition capsule collection will go toward fighting anti-Black racism and mass incarceration

Wales Bonner launched a limited-edition capsule collection in collaboration with Kerry James Marshall in support of Study and Struggle, a Mississippi-based organization that strives to build a world beyond prisons through political education, community building, and mutual aid.

The capsule consists of two T-shirts printed on organic cotton, one of which features new artwork by Marshall created exclusively for the collaboration—described by the artist as “an iconic emblem that requires no translation.” The second T-shirt reproduces a detail from Marshall’s 1993 painting Lost Boys: AKA Black Sonny, part of his Lost Boys series. These seminal works reference J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, in which the author depicts a band of boys roaming Neverland, unwilling to grow up. In contrast, Marshall’s portraits are a tribute to Black lives lost in the American system, adolescents never granted the opportunity to grow up and realize their potential.

A detail of a photograph by Tyler Mitchell of Wales Bonner and Kerry James Marshall’s limited edition capsule collection, featuring a T-shirt with an original artwork by Marshall created for the collaboration, dated 2022.

Wales Bonner and Kerry James Marshall limited edition capsule collection, 2022 (detail). Photo by Tyler Mitchell

Wales Bonner and Kerry James Marshall limited edition capsule collection, 2022 (detail). Photo by Tyler Mitchell

“These, Black, figures always have a real and a rhetorical presence. They are ‘BLACK.’ They are composite portraits, archetypes, not stereotypes. Each has an individual character, is a different person. This is what rescues them from a simple reading,” explains Marshall.

The collection is documented in a series of photographs by Tyler Mitchell and is modeled by Binx Walton, Calvin Royal III and Muhammad Fadel Lo. Net proceeds will be donated to Study and Struggle, which provides radical reading material for current or formerly incarcerated people and supports research projects and publications on their behalf.

“It is a profound honor to collaborate with Kerry James Marshall on this capsule collection—an artist whose practice was foremost in my mind when I first conceived of Wales Bonner in 2014,” says Grace Wales Bonner, founder of the eponymous brand. “My inspiration grew from an observation that the problems Kerry had identified with the western art historical canon were also abundant in the world of fashion. His artistic achievements opened my eyes to the real power and liberating possibilities of image making…. By so elegantly centralizing the Black figure in his work, Kerry showed me just how different things could be, how ideals of beauty can be challenged.”

To learn more about the collaboration and to shop the collection, visit Wales Bonner.


Cover image: Wales Bonner and Kerry James Marshall limited edition capsule collection, 2022 (detail). Photo by Tyler Mitchell

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