Material Object: Kiyanna Stewart
As Told To: Joshua David Stein / Illustration: Lucilla Tubaro / Photo credit: Wieden + Kennedy
What's the most important item in your home? In the Material Object series, we explore that very question, asking some of our favorite people which of their possessions connect them to their past, to their family, and to themselves.
Kiyanna Stewart is the founder of Blk Mkt Vintage, a shop that curates objects that reflect and express the richness of the lived Black experience, past and present. She founded it along with her partner in 2014. Below, she tells us the story of the typewriter that slows her down, expresses her love and encourages writing with intention.
"There’s no white out. There’s no delete. You have to press hard -- and think hard -- about every letter you type."
I’m in the business of collecting objects so to choose one that is particularly meaningful is difficult. But there’s a 1950 Remington Starfire Typewriter in fire red that is very special to me. It’s a gift from my partner, Jannah. When she found it in a store in Midtown Manhattan it wasn’t working. But she had it restored beautifully and gave it to me. Jannah and I have been together for eight years. We live together, work together, run a business together. We’re constantly running around, always busy. The typewriter is a reminder for us to slow down. We write poems to each other and little notes.
It’s a reminder to be intentional with our words and actions. There’s no white out. There’s no delete. You have to press hard -- and think hard -- about every letter you type. In an age where technology is developing rapidly, the typewriter changes our orientation to our objects. At Blk Mkt Vintage, our work is looking back to move forward and this has been a good addition to the practice. I think about the stories that have been written on it over the last 70 years. Many, I’m sure, are not like mine. And I’m thinking about what it means to be a Black Queer woman in 2022 writing love notes to my fiancée on a really special day like Christmas and or just a random Tuesday and that, by doing that, we’re forging a new story together