Artwork & words (c) to the individual artists. Photos link to artist websites (where available).
Artist Talk at Omi Gallery
Art is something that is bigger than who we are, it is our emotion. It is the tear that falls from our eyes, the laughter from our voice, the very blood in our veins. Its use, while therapeutic, is used to educate, nurture, and express our struggles and feelings, while also giving power to voices that cannot be heard.
It’s been my lifelong quest as a man and as an artist to rediscover my severed African heritage... I seek to explore blackness with positive and beautiful imagery. A predominant theme throughout my work is the rendering cultural icons from Africa and the African diaspora for the world to see.
Ramekon O'Arwisters (left) with Ashara Ekundayo
I started a community art project that enables people to collectively work on a piece of art with a focus on relaxation and human connection… I want participants to be in a creative mindset without anyone dictating the creative process nor concerned about the finished product. Crochet Jams are how I make liberation a form of art.
I am creating these large-scale paintings using Arabic Calligraphy to reflect the positive and universal message of Al-Quran to the world. My purpose is to reach out to a broad community in the pursuit of peace; to celebrate diversity, and create a positive interfaith dialogue through visual art that subtly penetrates the human heart to evoke response.
Focusing on the paradigm of the African-American experience, my work is about the contradictions that now exist as a result of centuries of oppression. Relying on history and stereotypes this work questions many of the social and cultural constructs that have defined my life.
Art as we perceive it, is as a result of trance energy, in the sense of spirit possession, where the conduit, the artist, is consumed by the fire of inspiration and allows the space for it to be processed into a blueprint. The process in itself reveals another form of trance energy, which is transformation. Subsequently, trace-formation is form created through trance. Thus, the possibility for healing through a cathartic journeying into the birthing of a single piece of art is great for the respective individual, but it can be particularly healing for the artist.
In exploring ancient texts, I found that many past civilizations, including cultures in Africa, viewed a woman as the god figure. In some ancient African societies, women were not only goddesses, but a part of and were represented by water. In science, we know that all water makes life possible… I hope to express the African conceptualization of water, including how water historically represented the duality of good and evil. For example, while water serves the important function of transportation – a means for trade and obtaining sustenance, water also has the power to flood fields and villages and provide passage to intruders.
… my art speaks intending to be beautiful and attractive harsh and cold rich textured smooth and refined hot like fire coexisting within one body of work with many varied chapters visual music soul stirring imagery raw-ass mindfunk blackstrap molasses straight to the bloodstream I been called on to do this by ancestors forever and I will not stop
I create works that aim to humanize and empower those at the margins. I design my interventions to propose new imaginaries that are visionary, solution-oriented, and non-reactive. My primary methodologies are printmaking, installations, public discussions, participatory cultural interventions and street art. My creative process includes a critical questioning of how creative capital is distributed among the artist and the frontline communities with whom the artist is partnering.
Combining my artistic talent with my passion for helping people believe in and see their best life, for over 10 years now I have facilitated healing and transformational art experiences in yoga studios, social justice organizations, transitional housing communities, hospitals, and retreat centers. I know what it is like to be beyond “the end of my rope”. Both the challenges and gifts of the healing path are deep. Whether the healing you seek is physical, emotional, or spiritual (or all of the above), healing is always possible. My goal as an artist is to help you SEE it so you can BE it.