Totems, Shrines & Sacrements

Kinsel 6

Totems, Shrines & Sacrements by D.S. Kinsel, will run from January 4 – February 29 in the IAMB Gallery.

The exhibition (and accompanying book) features photographs documenting Kinsel’s street art practice of creating temporary unsanctioned sculptures/installations of public art in urban settings. Totems, Shrines, & Sacrements by DS Kinsel takes you on a journey to cities such as Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Austin, Houston, Miami, Detroit, Providence, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Mayaguez to experience the beauty of Kinsel’s sculptures first hand. These street installations/sculptures serve as a way for Kinsel to circumvent unjust graffiti laws and provide markers of cultural space keeping in communities.

Kinsel’s practice of creating street installations using text, refuge materials, and found objects is influenced by hip-hops graffiti artists, Southern Junk Piles, and the tradition of native and indigenous people creating totem poles. Each of these practices presents visual storytelling in public space as a tool to welcome newcomers, communicate important information, and serve as cultural landmarks. Kinsel’s street art practice continues along this legacy and the book Totems, Shrines, & Sacraments provides an opportunity for reader’s to explore and hold onto a small piece of history.

The book, Totems, Shrines & Sacrements | Street Sculptures is currently be available for purchase at City Books, Small Mall Pgh and BOOM Concepts and was funded the Alisha Wormsley and Office of the Public Art’s “There are Black People in the Future” arts in residence program.


D. S. Kinsel is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and a cultural agitator. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting installation curating, action-painting, non-traditional performance, and #HASHTAGS. Kinsel’s work put focus on themes of space keeping, urban tradition, hip-hop, informalism, and Cultural Re- Appropriation. D.S. has served creative residencies at Most Wanted Fine Art, Artist Image Resource, The Homewood Residency Program, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh Public School Carnegie Mellon University Digital Arts Studio, AS220, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and the Sedona Summer Arts Colony. He also served as the curator of #ACTIVISTprint, a collaborative public art program of The Andy Warhol Museum and recently served as the Senior Producer at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

D.S. is the co-founder of BOOM Concepts, founded in 2014. BOOM Concepts is a creative hub dedicated to the advancement of black and brown artists representing marginalized communities. BOOM Concepts is located in Pittsburgh and is funded by The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation. BOOM serves as a space for field building, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and storytelling. In its fifth year, BOOM Concepts consistently challenging artists and communities to find new and innovative ways to write their own narratives. D.S has served as a board member of Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and serves on the advisory board for the 22Transformative Arts Process. A former AmeriCorps Public Ally member, D.S. has also been recognized as an Awardee of the Pittsburgh Courier Fab 40, Pittsburgh Magazine/PUMP 40 Under 40, Pgh Tech Council Creative of The Year, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Top Ten People To Meet in 2016,” and The Incline “Who’s Next” for 2018.

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