the storytellers

An Invitational Exhibition

April 24, 2021 - June 19th, 2021

CURATED BY

Ray Lewis, Lisa Tuttle

ARTISTS

Atu, Jamaal Barber, Thom Bess, Jerushia Graham, Muhammad Suber, Debõrah Hughes, Tafawa

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Who doesn’t love a good story? Join us to experience intriguing recent artwork by seven diverse Georgia visual and performing artists who work in a variety of mediums. Types of artwork include painting, collage, printmaking, wood sculpture, photography, film, installation, dance, costume and performance.  Each artist, in very different different ways, employs direct and implied narratives to communicate personal and imagined stories.


Atu   

Visionary artist and master sculptor Baba Atu is well versed in ancient West African traditions of art. Residing in Atlanta for the past two decades, he was born August 10, 1940 in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Chicago and New York. Self-taught, Atu created his first significant carving from the wood of a peach tree at 10 years old, carving a five-inch tall three-dimensional sculpture of a Black family with three children. Atu fashions small and large carvings; both depicting realistic and abstract scenes of African life and culture. His sculptures and drums are crafted from oak, mahogany, ebony and other woods, each holding its own unique story.


Jamaal Barber 

Jamaal Barber is a creative imaginative soul who was born in Virginia and raised in Littleton, North Carolina. At a young age he was fascinated by the aesthetic images and vivid illustrations in children’s books and comic books.  In 2013, after seeing a screen-printing demo at a local art store, Jamaal started experimenting with printmaking and made it his primary focus. His fine art can be seen on display at the ZuCot Gallery. It has also been included in the Decatur Arts Festival, Atlanta Print Biennial Show and at various art shows around the Metro Atlanta area. Additionally, Jamaal has done print work for Black Art in America and Emory University. In 2004, Jamaal moved to Atlanta, GA where he now resides with his wife and two children.


Thom Bess 

Thom Bess (or simply “Bess” as friends call him) specializes in collage style paintings and drawings. Influenced by Picasso, Romere Bearden, and Stephanie Jackson, Bess’s work has been described as mystical, darkly funny, challenging, and uplifting. He was raised in the small town of Gray, Georgia with strong Christian values and all the contradictions of the American South. Following a near death experience at 18, Bess began splitting his time between Jamaica and Amsterdam where he began studying African-centered metaphysics and, ironically, began to channel his very American experiences onto canvas. Returning to the U.S. in 2008, Bess started creating wall projections for small gatherings of friends in a newly re-emerging party and arts scene in Atlanta depicting cult pop culture icons, literary figures, and people he encountered at a local coffee shop. He currently lives and works in Atlanta.  Some exhibitions include:  2018 : “Spooked!” Auburn Research Library, Atlanta, GA (group); • 2017 : “Destroy What’s Precious”, Gallery 992 Atlanta, GA (solo) 2016 : “Speak Out!”, Bronx Art Space, Bronx, NY (group); and 2012 : “Fela! The Musical : Art and Protest as Fela Anikulapo Kuti” (solo)


Jerushia Graham 

Based in Atlanta, Jerushia Graham creates works straddling different media, including printmaking, book arts and fiber arts, but the most important aspect of her art is human interaction.  Her works are fragmented, implied narratives which invite the viewer to become collaborators and engage in quiet meditations about the physical world around us. Viewers are encouraged to provide their own impression of the moments before or after the images that are presented. She strives to create work that feels simple and honest, utilizing limited palettes and chosen media: papercuts, woodblocks, quilting, sewing & knitting. Graham, a working artist, is also the Museum Coordinator for the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. She exhibits both nationally and internationally.


Debõrah Hughes  

Debõrah Hughes was born in Orangeburg and grew up in Greenwood,  South Carolina in an artistic family that creatively influenced her love for the arts. After moving to Atlanta, she was exposed to everything from dance, fashion, music and drama. She coined the phrase ARTrepreneur as she pursued the business of Art. Hughes has danced for various artists and companies from around the world, allowing her to travel with her craft and see the world.  Those concert stage performances have included Ballethnic Dance Company, Deeply Rooted Dance Company,  PH Dance Company,  T. Lang Dance Company and Axam Dance Theatre.  She also has worked with Hands On Atlanta to develop art curriculums in low-income areas of the city


Muhammad Suber 

Born in Yonkers, New York, Artist InUs (Muhammad Suber) grew as a predominantly self-taught artist/muralist. He reimagines real-life figures into a fantasy setting, creating superheroes out of everyday people from his life into his work on both small and large scales. He wants to use his talents and abilities along with Recreation & Park entities throughout Atlanta to become more involved in public art projects in order to create a form of Socially Engaged Art with his creative vision.


Tafawa  

Tafawa, born Arthur Hicks, in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1947, is an exceptionally talented, highly skilled photographer, printer, and custom picture framer. He was raised in Buffalo, New York, attended public schools there, and was drafted into the U. S. Army at age 18. Upon completion of military service, he returned to Buffalo and earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and African Studies from Buffalo State College. While a sophomore in college, Tafawa’s wife gave him his first camera, and he immediately began to develop his keen eye for photographing people.  His creative instincts around photographing, printing, exhibiting and preserving African and African American imagery continue to evolve. For nearly two decades, Tafawa and his wife have lived in Metro Atlanta.