0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday! Celebrating the Artwork of Victor Ekpuk at Morton Fine Art in DC”

Happy Creativity Thursday! Celebrating the Artwork of Victor Ekpuk at Morton Fine Art in DC

Artist Victor Ekpuk and friend at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13
Artist Victor Ekpuk and friend at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today’s blog celebrates the artwork of Nigerian contemporary artist Victor Ekpuk. Last weekend, I started my Autumn Artist Weekends with a visit to Morton Fine Art to see a solo exhibition of Ekpuk’s artwork, “Reminiscences and Current Musings.”

Victor Ekpuk chatting with people at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13
Victor Ekpuk chatting with people at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13

My favorite piece in the exhibition is Idaresit (Joyful Heart). See photo below.

Idaresit (Joyful Heart) by Victor Ekpuk,  2004 - Photo Credit: Victor Ekpuk/Morton Fine Art
Idaresit (Joyful Heart) by Victor Ekpuk, 2004 – Photo Credit: Victor Ekpuk/Morton Fine Art

I discovered Ekpuk’s work this summer during one of my visits to Morton Fine Art. I was immediately drawn to his use of nsibidi “traditional” Nigerian graphic symbols and writing systems in his work. The symbols refer to abstract concepts, actions, or things. When they are used, they facilitate communication among peoples speaking different languages. Nsibidi is indigenous to the Ejagham peoples of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon in the Cross River region. Ibibio, Efik and Igbo people also use it. Click here to read more about the meaning of nsibidi.

Victor Ekpuk's artwork
Victor Ekpuk’s artwork

I love how Ekpuk’s work incorporates aspects of his ancestry. It makes me think that the spirit of his ancestors are embedded into his artwork. The placement of the nsibidi symbols in his works creates soulful, lyrical poetry that speaks silently to my spirit. Perhaps that’s why the poet in me feels so connected to his work!

Victor Ekpuk artwork at Morton Fine Art
Victor Ekpuk artwork at Morton Fine Art

If you are in the D.C. area, I encourage you to visit the exhibition at Morton Fine Art. It ends October 8.  The Artist Talk will be held on Saturday, September 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Celebrating the Artwork of Tanekeya Word”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Celebrating the Artwork of Tanekeya Word

Photo Credit: www.tanekeyaword.com
Photo Credit: http://www.tanekeyaword.com
Photo Credit: http://www.vogue.it/en/magazine/daily-news/2012/09/milan-fashion-week
Photo Credit: http://www.vogue.it/en/magazine/daily-news/2012/09/milan-fashion-week

Happy Creativity Thursday! Happy First Day of New York Fashion Week too!

Today, I am celebrating the power of art and fashion by featuring Tanekeya Word, one of my favorite artists who has created artwork and a personal brand that celebrate fashion, popular culture, and her life experiences. She is also a fellow Howardite (Howard University, Class of 2006). I discovered her amazing artwork and purchased several prints in 2008. Word defines herself as a Hybrid Chic Afrofuturist Visual Artist. Currently, she serves as the managing editor, creative & art director, and literature & culture editor of neonV,  a biannual magazine for the contemporary peculiar woman that provides a compelling storyline of traditional and innovative content by exposing the cultural and subcultural continuums in fashion, art, beauty, and travel. Click here to learn more about Word and her incredibly stunning work.

Tanekeya Word's self portrait painting - Photo Credit: www.tanekeyaword.com
Tanekeya Word’s self portrait painting – Photo Credit: http://www.tanekeyaword.com

Here’s one of my favorite pieces of her work. It’s called “Issa Rae. Awkward Black Girl. Comedic Genius.” It represents Issa Rae, screen writer, actress, producer, and founder of The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl webisode series.

Photo Credit: www.tanekeyaword.com
Photo Credit: http://www.tanekeyaword.com
4 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura's painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura’s painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am excited to announce that Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is hosting an opening reception for the D.C. debut of Brooklyn-based painter Tim Okamura’s new portrait collection, Depicted/Connected on Friday, September 27, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, N.W. (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Metro Station on the Green Line).

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Depicted/Connected features 11 culturally diverse women who were primarily born and raised in the D.C. area. They are depicted through Tim’s self-constructed lens which captures how they have experienced the evolution of D.C. as a city. Through the paintings, he says, “I have sought to celebrate these women as individuals, connected to their environment, but also to discover through them metaphors for greater aspects of the human condition – connected to all of us.” If you are in D.C. on September 27, please plan to attend this amazing event. See you in September!

SIDE NOTE: Just in case you couldn’t tell who is featured in the painting above, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s me. Tim included a door from Republic Gardens, a club I used to hang out in during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/

The club has a rich history too. It first opened in the 1920s when owner W.G. Tindel converted a brick rowhouse (1355 U Street, N.W.) into a restaurant with a backyard summer garden on U Street, the heart of D.C.’s African American culture and life (the reason I moved to the neighborhood 23 years ago). During the next 30 years, it became a major destination for fans of live jazz. Two of my favorite jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker performed there.

When I look at the sun-like gold window on the red door in the painting, I am reminded of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun  goddess. She is associated with the colors red, gold, and yellow. She represents royal power and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after the winter solstice.

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH TIM OKAMURA:

I met Tim on June 9, during his photo shoot for Depicted/Connected at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in the photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his ”Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio):
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada. To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Happy July 4th and Happy Creativity Thursday!

Guess what I am doing next week? I’m taking artist Tina Lassiter’s “An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight” workshop on July 11 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Tina describes the workshop as a collage-making “joyshop” that will evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. It’s just what I need to jumpstart my own collage-making painting process.

Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

In June, I had a chance to chat with Tina at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery  opening of the “From the Outside” exhibition. Some of her work is featured in the exhibit. I love her goddess collages!

More About Tina: She is also a writer, photographer, and Director of Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, She became a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist in addition to receiving certifications in Reiki and Acupressure. She is currently working to help Children’s National Medical Center establish an integrative medicine program.

What are you doing to celebrate creativity in July?

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – 6/20”

Happy Creativity Thursday – 6/20

Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the work of mixed media artist and sculptor Lisa Schumaier, an Alexandria, Virginia native. I met Lisa two weeks ago while visiting her studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a down-to-earth woman with a deep passion. She was happy to explain her art-making process and shared several stories about her artwork.

Artist Lisa Schumaier
Artist Lisa Schumaier
Lisa Schumaier 's artist studio
Lisa Schumaier ‘s artist studio

I was immediately drawn to her mixed media collage sculptures of women dancers.

Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier - my favorite piece
Artwork by Lisa Schumaier – my favorite piece

I marveled at how she was able to blend her ceramic work with found objects and recycled materials. Click here to watch a video of Lisa talking about her passion for art and the Torpedo Factory. For more information about her work, visit www.keenthings.com.

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating Tim Okamura, a fabulous painter from Edmonton, Canada (one of my favorite places to visit for art and creativity). Tim’s paintings explore identity, popular culture, and the urban environment. He uses collage, spray paint, and mixed media in his work (and I adore collage and mixed media!).

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

I met Tim on June 9 during his photo shoot for his upcoming “Depicted/Connected” series at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (the organization I work for as an Artist-in-Residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center). Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in Tim’s photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Many thanks to Anthony Palliparambil, Jr., Exhibitions Manager and artist, for organizing the photo shoot and taking photos!

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. By the way, Les Nubians are one of my favorite Afropean neosoul singing duos (they make several appearances in my Love’s Troubadours novel).

I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his “Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio)
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada.
To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Photo Credit: The Smithsonian Castle,  www.si.edu/About
Photo Credit: The Smithsonian Castle, http://www.si.edu/About

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Growing up in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area afforded me many opportunities to visit and fall in love with the Smithsonian Museums. My love affair with the Smithsonian and other museums was nurtured by my mother and the nuns who taught me art history and appreciation at St. Elizabeth Seton High School.

Photo Credit: Freer Gallery and Sackler Gallery logo
Photo Credit: Freer Gallery and Sackler Gallery logo
Photo Credit: Sackler Gallery
Photo Credit: Sackler Gallery

By the time I moved into my first D.C. apartment and started Howard University School of Law, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery had become two of my favorite places to hang out and learn about Asian art. Over the years, I have attended numerous exhibitions, film screenings, and dance performances. Some of my favorites have included Buddhist art, Japanese art of the Edo period, Hokusai’s paintings, and the art of Mughal, India. Last year, the Sackler Gallery celebrated its 25th anniversary with an evening gala of art, fine Asian-inspired cuisine, and a performance by celebrated violinist Hahn-Bin.

Photo Credit: Sackler Gallery
Photo Credit: Sackler Gallery

This week, I learned about the Smithsonian’s Yoga: The Art of Transformation, the world’s first exhibition of yogic art that is being crowdfunded.

About the Yoga: The Art of Transformation

The exhibition is scheduled to open on October 19. It will feature more than 120 works that explores yoga’s goals; its Hindu, as well as Buddhist, Jain, and Sufi
manifestations; its means of transforming body and consciousness; and its
profound philosophical foundations. 

About the Crowdfunding Campaign   

The Smithsonian launched its crowdfunding campaign on May 29 (will end on July 1) with a funding goal of $125,000.  To date, the campaign has raised $12,800.  The purpose of the campaign is to raise money to create videos, publications, and pamphlets; print catalogs, offer yoga classes during the exhibition, and more. After reading about the exhibition and watching the crowdfunding campaign video on YouTube, the yoga teacher, artist, and Internet geek inside of me became excited and inspired to make a donation. Why? Three of my passions have come together in one project I can support: yoga, creativity, and the Internet. Click here to make a contribution.

About Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a web-based financial model that allows individuals to network and pool their money in community to support projects and ventures initiated by other people and organizations. gofundme, indiegogo, and Kickstarter are three of the most popular reward-based crowdfunding platforms. The Smithsonian is using Razoo, a crowdfunding platform for nonprofit organizations. To learn more about crowdfunding, click here to see my Crowdfunding Pinterest board of resources.

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

alchemical1-smctr

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Each month, I try to participate in an arts-related event in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C.  I usually visit the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Last month, I  attended the opening reception for the Gallery’s Alchemical Vessels, an exhibition featuring ceramic bowls created by 125 artists.

alchemical10alchemical2alchemical4alchemical8

Each artist made a ceramic bowl that reflected his or her own personal aesthetic and medium. Together, the ceramic bowls  symbolized the importance of creating healing space.

alchemical5

The creation of healing space is a core element of Smith Center’s mission and my intention as a Smith Center artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Click here to learn more about the exhibition.  If you are in the D.C. area on June 7, plan to attend the artists’ closing reception at 7:00 p.m.

2 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/25”

Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/25

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the artwork of Kesha Bruce. I adore Bruce’s work because it marries collage, written words, storytelling, drawings, and painting with memory, personal mythology, and spirituality. When I see her work, I dream and reflect all at the same time!

Photo Credit: Totem for Sistah Johnson by Kesha Bruce - KeshaBruce.com
Photo Credit: Totem for Sistah Johnson by Kesha Bruce – KeshaBruce.com

The Totem Series which features her narrative portraits of hybrid beings is one of my favorite collections. My favorite piece from the collection is a Totem for Sistah Johnson.

Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce and Ananda Leeke at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce and Ananda Leeke at Morton Fine Art in DC

In December 2012, I met Bruce in person at the Morton Fine Art gallery which hosted an opening reception featuring her Wrestling with Angels series of drawings inspired by the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel in the Holy Bible. What a treat! I told her how much I enjoy seeing her artwork, reading her blog, and following her on Twitter. Visit http://keshabruce.com to learn more about her.

0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/11”

Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/11

Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com
Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the work of Sonya Clark, a textile artist extraordinaire who also serves as Chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Clark’s work focuses on her individual and collective identity as an African American woman with Caribbean roots from her Jamaican mother and Trinidadian father.

Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark - Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/
Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark – Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/

I discovered Clark’s work and featured her Madame C.J. Walker, a tapestry made from black plastic combs, on my Black American Princess (BAP) Living social networking site in 2008. Since then, her work has been an inspiration for my own creative expression. Visit www.sonyaclark.com to learn more about her.