By Ben Thrutchley
Smithsonian Institution object number 2012.89 is more than just a number to Kaiser Permanente employee Donna Adams. It is an honor and a celebration of her husband, BK Adams’, life work as an artist.
Named Transformation “Blue Horse,” this sculpture became part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture’s (NMAAHC) permanent collection in 2012. Created in 2009, the acrylic, fiberglass, steal metal, and foil sculpture evolved from BK Adams’ love for horses, bikes, and transportation in general, and delves into the artists’ fascination with the way things work from the inside and behind the scenes.
“Transformation ‘Blue Horse’ symbolizes time, space, and place,” said BK Adams. “The bicycle, the horse, and the numeral 3 are all deeply personal symbols to me. When I was a child, I rode my bike off a cliff in an attempt to fly. The result was two months in the hospital where I recovered, but also began to draw as a way of entertaining and expressing myself. It was that experience that transformed me into an artist.”
A Washington, DC based visual artist and sculptor, Adams has produced commissions, fine art and paintings in various styles, though nearly all of his work has an avant-garde expressionist and abstract flare. Adams uses textiles, metalworks, fiberglass and traditional canvas as well as photorealistic monochromes to express his creativity, insights, and life journey. His exhibitions have appeared in the Honfleur Gallery; Smithsonian Institution collection of Museums; National Harbor Gallery; Telluride, Colorado; and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, among others.
“It is an incredible honor for the Smithsonian to lift up my husband’s work and include it in their permanent collection,” said Donna Adams. “Millions of visitors now have the opportunity to explore Transformation “Blue Horse’s” details and depth up close. Knowing that BK’s work will touch millions of lives means so much to me and my family.”
In 2016, Kaiser Permanente made a major investment into the NMAAHC because of its support for artists like BK Adams and its mission to preserve African-American history and culture. This investment is part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion, and strengthening the communities we serve. You can learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s history of diversity and inclusion on the History of Total Health blog. For more information about Kaiser Permanente’s support for the NMAAHC click here.