HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - John Jahni Moore

John Thomas Moore, "Jahni" born June 20, is an African-American artist and art collector. As an artist he has gained acclaimed in the United States and Colombia, South America having done several works in the hometown of famous Latin artists Pedro Nel Gomez and Fernando Botero. The artist has won many awards for both creative and humanitarian accomplishments. He believes that creativity should be an integral part of any effective educational (the root of a nation) and healing process.

Social commentary is a central theme to his artwork. On one side are intricately hauntingly detailed charcoal works on paper contrasted with vivid paintings in near living color. In 1999 he did his first "professional" mural at Earlyworks Children's Museum. The piece is still on exhibit today. Jahni has served as an educator and taught "art" on every academic level from kindergarten to university. 



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Chuks Echiemeze Okoye

Chuks E. Okoye was born in Jos, in Northern Nigeria. He began his Post Secondary education at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1980. After a brief stay at the School of Fine and Applied Arts, where he was majoring in sculpture and African iconography, Chuks migrated to the United States of America. Continuing his studies in the United States, in 1983, Mr. Okoye obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma in 1987, with a major in product design and a minor in painting.

Chuks has chosen African and American art as his primary form of artistic expression by creating works of art in mixed-media, pencil, oil, and acrylic paintings. His recent venture into woodcarving and wall sculpture has earned him an extraordinary place in the art world as well. He has transformed this art form into framed wood collages and three-dimensional wall hangings, thereby creating a contemporary feel to this cultural reflection. The paintings and sculptures created by Chuks E. Okoye are distinctive, with a combination of realism and abstraction, using African beads and woven silk/rayon thread to make symbols and designs.
On canvas, this technique creates a three-dimensional effect. His art is a true representation of positive images that give rise to motivation and hope in ALL people. In fact, Chuks considers himself a pioneer in a new style of painting he calls “Abstract-Realism.”



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Water Kolours


For over 21 years since opening our first gallery it has been our mission to present the finest artworks by emerging artist from all over the country as well as many renaissance artist ofour time combined with ourever improving commitment to customer service and a desire to present images that reflect our capacityfor human greatnessit is our belief that cultureis how a people celebrate themselves and define themselves on the map of human historyand world geography. 



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Ted Ellis

Raised and educated in New Orleans, a city known for its rich African-American heritage history, Ted Ellis is a self-taught artist, celebrated by dignitaries in and out of the art community.  Currently residing in Friendswood, Texas, Ellis’s work, according to US Congressman Randy Weber, evokes feelings of “empowerment and hope”. In addition to being commissioned by well-known brands such as Walt Disney Studios and Coca-Cola, Ted had the honor of being the official artist of two of the most historic events in US history. In March 2015, Ellis unveiled the commemorative art work, Bloody Sunday—Selma, 1965, for the City of Selma in honor of the 50th anniversary of the historic walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Ted’s Juneteenth Freedom Project was featured at the US Senate Building in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. Learn more about Ted and his work at



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Pat Brintle

The works of self-taught artist Patricia Brintle are vibrant and remind the viewer of her native Haiti.  Brintle’s approach to painting is varied; she does not follow any particular school but rather lets her rich culture guide her creative muse.  Her paintings are infused with complex symbolism yet seem, at first glance, simple.  Her style is as varied as her subjects but she favors bright and vivid colors as she explores the universality of human emotions in every one of her artworks.  Many of Brintle’s works address strong issues such as nuclear disarmament, the Holocaust and the Haitian earthquake.  Several of her works are featured in movies and grace the covers and pages of books, magazines, and publications.  Brintle belongs to several art organizations and exhibits internationally.


Brintle is also the president of From Here to Haiti, Ltd. (FHTH), a non-profit all-volunteer charity doing repair work in Haiti, and donates most of the proceeds from the sale of her artworks to FHTH.


Some of Brintle’s artistic accomplishments include:

o   Showing at:

                              Salon des Artistes Independents - Grand Palais, Paris, France

                              Albert Schweitzer Museum in Hamden, Connecticut          

                              Queens Museum of Art in New York

                              Consulate General of Haiti in New York

                              The United Nations in New York

                              National Museum of Catholic Art and History in New York

                              Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama

                              Rosa Park Museum in Montgomery, Alabama

o   Several of Brintle’s artworks on the devastation, resistance and rescue efforts of the Holocaust belong to the permanent collection of the Holocaust Center of Temple Judea in New York.

o   A Delicate Balance won the “Images of Peace” national competition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Albert Schweitzer’s call for nuclear disarmament and belongs to the collection of the Albert Schweitzer Museum’s in Hamden, Connecticut.

o   Last Breath graces the cover of Christianity and Human Rights by Cambridge Press.

o   Voiliers au Port a Bainet graced the cover of the U.S. National Maritime Historical Society publication Sea History Magazine.

o   Virgo Virginum, Regina Caeli, and Ora Pro Nobis graced the covers and pages of “Give us This Day” by Liturgical Press.

o   Several of Brintle’s artworks were featured in 2015 Golden Globe nominee film St. Vincent with Bill Murray and in 2015 National Geographic feature film Killing Jesus.



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Nnamdi Okonkwo

I was born in Eastern Nigeria in 1965. I am the first of three sons. I currently reside in Fayetteville, Georgia with my wife and three children.

As far back as I can remember I have always been drawn to art. Later on I realized that my artistic sensibilities were best expressed in the three dimensional art of sculpture. Around this same time I was introduced to basketball, which suited me well as I am six feet nine inches tall. After obtaining a Degree in painting in Nigeria, basketball became the avenue for me to come to the United States. I was recruited by BYU-Hawaii where I played from 1989-1993, and graduated with a BFA in Sculpture.

Immediately after that, I enrolled in the graduate program at BYU-Provo where I received an MFA degree in sculpture in 1997. While going to school in Provo, I met and married my wife, Deidra, who is from Idaho and graduated in 1996 with a Master of Accountancy.

I now work full time out of my studio in Fayetteville. My work is represented in galleries across the country, and my large scale monumental work can be seen in individual and public sculpture gardens as well.



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Najee Dorsey


Since becoming a full-time artist in 2005, Najee has become well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of most African American artists: the closed doors in the arts community, the lack of representation in art institutions, and the undervaluation of African American art and its creators by dominant society. Being the proactive individual that he is, Najee founded Black Art In America™ (BAIA) in 2010 as a free online media platform for African American artists, collectors, art enthusiasts, and arts professionals. In the company’s conceptual stages, influencers from BAIA’s audience were surveyed and it became clear that their issues were centered on exposure, appreciation, and access to each other. BAIA™ was founded as a centralized location for profiling the African American artist -- giving members of the network access to the work of African American artists (past and contemporary), and most importantly, opportunities for interchange. Since 2010, the network has become the leading online portal and resource focused on African American art, artists, collectors, industry leaders, and arts enthusiasts. The BAIA™ online network currently has a monthly virtual reach of 750,000 people and growing.

As an artist, Najee Dorsey has developed much in his craft over the years, and has become known for his mixed media collage, digital media collage images of little known and unsung historical figures, as well as nostalgic scenes from African American life in the southern United States. In his work, as Najee chronicles moments in Black life throughout history, he maintains that, “stories untold are stories forgotten”. Far from the days after dropping out of arts college, and becoming uncertain about his future in the arts, Dorsey has forged a successful career as an artist, being featured in numerous solo and group museum shows, television broadcasts and print publications -- a major feat for any artist. As well as these accomplishments, he has skillfully combined his creative edge, and business acumen to develop a steadily growing online community that documents, preserves and promotes the contributions of the African American arts community. Najee now lives in Columbus, GA with his wife, Seteria.



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Martha Wade

Martha A. Wade is a self-taught artist from Chicago.  The daughter of artist Eugene Wade, one of the Chicago artists responsible for the Mural Movement – Martha has always carried a deep passion for art making.  Martha watched her father paint from a young age, and began drawing by pausing cartoons on video and copying the images.  In her new body of work, Martha creates a fantasy of humans made from stardust, who uplift our spirits by giving us a glimpse of what people can achieve at our highest potential.  Her tapestry everyday people suggest that common grounds exist, where everyone is empowered to fulfill their dreams.

In 2010, Martha participated in her first gallery exhibition, and today her paintings have a bold and vibrant style that explores mankind's potential on earth and throughout the universe.  Martha’s work can be found in private collections nationally in the United States as well as internationally in Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden.

Martha is co-owner of Galleryna19 in the Oak Park Arts District.  Galleryna19 is a fine art gallery dedicated to showcasing the works of emerging, and mid-career artists to align multiple cultures and provide a venue where artists come together to create and collaborate.

She has over 15 years of experience in Financial Consulting, Producing, Graphic Design and Modeling, and Implementation.  Martha learned to create at the foot of her artist father, and has gone on to produce over 100 paintings on wood and canvas with found objects, oil and acrylic.  Her business background, along with her creative and graphic design skills will be utilized during budget planning, installation and implementation.

Notable Art Exhibitions & Awards

Oak Park Mini Mural Project – Artist Outdoor Mural, Oak Park IL, 2015
The Native Series – The Creative Space, Chicago IL, 2015
Bare Strokes – Group Exhibition and Live Body Painting, LoCollective, Chicago IL, 2015 

The Collaboration of Sexy – Collaborative Exhibition, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL, 2015
K.L.E.O Community Family Life Center’s Sprint Benefit – Live Painting/Auction, 2015
Square Foot Art Basel Miami Redux – Projects Gallery, Miami FL, 2015
Harlem Fine Arts Show – Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL, 2014
K.L.E.O Community Family Center Annual Benefit Gala – Live painting and auction, 2014
The Peace Project – Whole 9 Gallery, Golden Award Recipient, New York NY, 2014
Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series – Art Competition, Gallery Guichard, Chicago IL, 2014
Made of Stardust – Solo Art Exhibition, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL, 2014
Home is Where the Art Is – AllUsWe Collective Show, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL, 2013
5th Annual Twitter Art Exhibit – Art Division, Los Angeles CA, 2013
Diaspora: The Art of Blackness – Group Art Show, NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago IL, 2013
Infusion Project Art Revolution – Live Painting Events, Beauty Bar, Chicago IL, 2012
Artists Group Show – Lacuna Artist Loft and Studios, Chicago IL, 2012
Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series – Gallery Guichard, Chicago IL, 2011
Chicago Artist Outreach – Sponsored Exhibit/Live Painting, Buddy Lounge, Chicago IL 2010



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Andrew Nichols

Born in Brooklyn New York, Andrew discovered that he had a gift of drawing at an early age. He began expressing himself through pencil on paper in elementary school and soon began receiving formal Art awards, his first being at age nine. The signal was clear to those around him or to anyone who viewed his early work, that Andrew had a true talent. Andrew continued to win awards throughout junior and senior high school. His artworks remained displayed at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn New York.

 Andrew continued his education and art expression at Kingsboro Community College. It was during this time in his life that he developed a passion for oil on canvas.

 Andrew began to tour the region selling his original oils. He was soon displaying his artworks at the Jacob Javits Center, Pratt Institute and one man shows. Andrew expresses positive African American images through his artworks. He projects his passion of the family as a strong loving unit.

 Andrew often transfers his love for children to his canvas. He expresses life beginning on a canvas painting called "Welcome to the World".

 Nichols is best known for some of his latest artworks like "Goodnight" "Harmony", "Sisters" and "Good Morning" just to name a few. When asked about a heart-felt moment, Andrew sites when several members of the New Jersey Nets purchased his oil originals as "defining" for him.

 Andrew's message tot he world community is, "We are all role models to each other in one way or another. Always be positive because somebody is looking up to you, known or unknown. Stay focused on your dream; do not be afraid to express your passion. Just as I transfer my feelings and inspiration to canvas, you are transferring your positive strength to others.”


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HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Ashley Reid

Fine Artist, Photographer, Ashley Reid is an artist’s artist. Born in Oakland, CA and raised in Atlanta, Georgia as the daughter to music industry icons Perri “Pebbles” Reid and Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Ashley was no stranger to photo and music video sets. A regular feature of everyday life, Ashley often played “photo shoot” with her friends, and mixed and mingled with some of entertainment’s top brass, even before recognizing her own talent and passion for the arts.

 Years later, after moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts, where she graduated with a BFA in 2005, Ashley’s unconventional and deeply moving personal approach to image-making was embraced by The Nowhere Gallery of Contemporary Art in Milan, who immediately signed on to represent the then burgeoning artist and her work. In 2006, her first solo exhibition, Devastatingly Good Times, which featured self-portrait tableaux vivants, received wide critical acclaim and paved the way for her continued work in solo and group art shows worldwide.

 Solo exhibitions include Nowhere Gallery, Milan, Italy“Devastatingly Good Times” (2006, 2007), Autoversion Limitied“Imitation of Life” (2008), New York.  Selected Group exhibitions include United Black Girls, Rush Arts Gallery, New York (2007), Ridykeulous Participant, Inc. New York (2006) and Bearings:  The Female Figure, PS122 Gallery, New York.

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HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Buchi Upjohn

Buchi Upjohn Aghaji expresses his art through a variety of media including oil, 
watercolor and acrylic on canvas, burlap, paper, metal and wood.

Truly an artist at heart, Upjohn continues to engage his audience in an art language
always spoken with freshness. The feelings evoked by his work can only be exhilarating. 
No one can unleash such use of color without being in touch with his creator. What you
feel only shows the power of his work and the touch he received.

Always interested in painting, his studies in the university steered him into commercial advertising where he worked for a year in Nigeria. It was not until he moved to England
that he realized that he could pursue painting full time. The response he received was so encouraging that he and an illustrator friend opened an art studio in London.

Always open to travel and new experiences, Aghaji moved to the United states. He spent
a few years in New York before moving to Georgia where he lives now.

Aghaji believes that one's artistic creations cannot be separated from his experience; therefore he reaches deep into his cultural and spiritual experiences to come up with
images that truly engage the viewer.

Upjohn's work has received much acclaim and recognition in different parts of the world. 
His work resides in numerous public and private collections in England, Germany, 
Africa and America.



HFAS 2016 - Artist Spotlight - Kevin Williams

Kevin A. Williams is an artist on a mission, but his is no solo trip: He wants to take you on the journey, too. His destination is a place where more African-Americans will appreciate, own and even create fine art that honors their rich heritage and hope filled destiny. So far, tens of thousands of people have willingly followed Williams to that vista – including talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, and actor comedian Bernie Mac. From celebrity homes to small businesses, corporate offices and women’s spas, Williams’ original and lithograph artwork hangs from coast to coast.

As the best-selling artist in the African-American print market, Williams is a popular personality at national art shows, conferences of African-American groups and major international events, including the Essence Music Festival. His art has been featured on television’s “Law & Order” (NBC) and “Soul Food” (Showtime). An artist who has received no formal training Williams’ success has been in what some may call non-traditional methods of reaching art consumers.