Updated: Jul 18, 2020
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.
"As a photographer, presenting myself as an artist has always been a challenge. With the camera I capture images that present themselves to me wherever I am in the world. In the sense that all art is an expression of creative Spirit, presenting itself as inspiration through each of us, I am an artist using the camera as creative expression. In the words of photographer Minor White, 'Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen'."
11 Questions with Tafawa
1.What is the best part about being an artist/organizer?
The best part of being a Photographer/artist are the Journeys that I have taken, to the different parts of Africa, the photos I have taken, the memories that they hold and the opportunity it gives me to share my vision of the world as I see it.
2. What is the most difficult part?
Being Still to explore and digitize my photo archives that span 50+ years.
3. Favorite medium? Favorite way to engage with your community?
4. Whose work do you most admire
Kathleen Atkins Wilson-Painter Ansel Adams-Photographer
5. Describe your idea of artistic success.
Belonging to an artistic community, having the resources and time to continue the creative Journey
6. What is the one question you wish people would stop asking you?
Don't have one.
7. What is the one thing you wish people would ask?
Don’t have one.
8. Tea or coffee?
9. Top three tunes to inspire creativity?
John Coltrane My favorite things Grover Washington Jr. Masterpiece Leon Thomas The Creator Has A Master Plan .
10. What projects are you currently working on?
Establishing my Studio at the Arts Xchange Cataloging the works of Baba Atu the Sculpture Print and exhibit works from my archives provide printing service for artist desiring to have prints made from there paintings Digitizing selected works from my archives.
11. If you could pass along one message to the rest of the world right now, what would you say?
Stand in Peace, Stay Strong This to Shall Pass.
To connect with Tafawa or follow his work, please visit him at