New black art on display at Red Arrow Gallery

Johnson Ocheja ASOEBI, 2021, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48”x44”

Red Arrow Gallery is honored to feature two solo presentations for December, 2021, both featuring black artists: Broke from Nashville native Desmond Lewis, and The Beautiful Life of the Ordinary Blue by Kogi State, Nigeria’s Johnson Ocheja. The exhibitions run Wednesday, December 1 through Saturday, December 26, 2021. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. & By Appointment. Meet the artists at their Artist Reception on Saturday December 4, 2021, from 6:00 pm. until 9:00 p.m.

Desmond Lewis is an artist who uses steel and concrete in his sculptures to correlate the invisibility of structural steel within buildings with the concealed structural importance of African Americans in the United States. Within his work he creates fabricated and forged sculptures that abstractly address conversations surrounding race, equality, and community. The work in Broke explores the notion of what it means for a material to fracture under stress from the confinement of American infrastructure.

Desmond Lewis Don’t get it Twisted, 2020, forged steel, carved concrete, 62”x12”x9”

Lewis was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in New Haven, Connecticut. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Tennessee State University, a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture degree from the University of Memphis and a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Tennessee at Martin. Desmond has completed residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Vermont Carving and Sculpture Center, and Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Desmond’s work can be found in several public and private collections around the US including Penland School of Crafts, Carolina Bronze Sculpture Park, City of Hickory, NC, Vermont Carving and Sculpture Center, The University of Memphis, Soulsville USA, NexAir LLC, Skowhegan Parks and Recreation, Orange Mound Neighborhood and Veterans Association, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Desmond is on the Board of Directors at the Metal Museum. He is currently a Lecturer in Sculpture and the Fabrication Shops Coordinator in the School of Art at Yale University.

Johnson Ocheja is a Nigerian self-taught artist from an Igala speaking community. He paints detailed scenes of black subjects with blue pigment and in impasto technique with his fingers thereby producing marks on the skin of his subjects inspired by scarification, an African cultural practice.

“Life is better when we create space for others to coexist,” says Ocheja. “This is a voice for the voiceless, the magic is always in the ordinary, give it a voice and let the beauty out.”

His portraits highlight black consciousness and black beauty. Born in 1993 in Kogi state, Nigeria, he moved to Kaduna State at the age of 3, graduated from Kogi State University with a bachelor’s degree in statistics. This is his first solo show, both in the United States and with Red Arrow Gallery.

The Red Arrow Gallery is located at 919 Gallatin Avenue, Suite #4, Nashville, TN  37206. Call 615.236.6575 for Gallery appointments. Check out their website at: www.theredarrowgallery.com

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