Kyla Murray

Kyla Murray

Spring 2019 expected graduation PAS Program


Kyla Murray, a Chicago native, is studying in the department of Pan-African Studies at Syracuse University with a specialized concentration in identity politics within visual art. Graduating from Oglethorpe University in 2017 Magnum Cum Laude, Kyla spent her senior year of undergraduate course work at the University of Oxford in England. It was there where she studied the effects of slavery on British and American social, political, and educational frameworks. Researching the works of W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of “double consciousness”, and Paul Gilroy’s attitudes on hyphenated identities and critical race theory, Kyla was able to develop her passion for African American studies and Pan-Africanism. Attempting to conduct her research through a transnational lens, Kyla sought to dichotomize the relationship between racial essentialism, and Black hyphenated identity, and the effect it had on socioeconomic aspects of Britain and the United States. Kyla’s undergraduate degree in Art History with a focus on African art developed the frameworks for theoretical thinking within the African Diaspora.

Summer 2018, Kyla used her Syracuse externship experience to conduct research in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was on the island of Hispaniola where she began to place a centralized focus on the ways in which Afro-Latin American and Caribbean visual and literary artists consider racial ideology, historical consciousness, and the formation of diasporic cultural identity through displacement and migration within their works.

Her current project, The Negation of Historic Exclusivity, focuses on aspects of identity politics and visual art. Kyla’s thesis project examines the cultural politics of legitimizing Blackness in the work of artists within the African, Caribbean and Latin American diaspora. Through use of the Latin American casta paintings, the Caribbean colonial society paintings, and 18th- 19th century portraiture, her project examines how Blackness is re-institutionalized and legitimized into contemporary art. She examines how early representations of Blackness has created a standard for the way in which Blackness could be controlled and re-institutionalized into a coloniality of power and eurocentrism.

When Kyla is not spending time researching and working on her thesis she enjoys traveling, researching and buying new art pieces for her home, shopping, spending time with family, reading, horseback riding, and spoiling her 1 year old French Bulldog!