Exhibit preview: Talle Bamazi among artists honored by King Arts Complex

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From the May 15, 2014 edition

The King Arts Complex 27th Anniversary Gala will honor renowned local artists Aminah Robinson, Kojo Kamau, Ron Anderson, Abdi Roble and Talle Bamazi. Bamazi will offer his own recognition.

“The portraits I’ve done are of the great artists that are here. Those artists have done a lot in the community … and this is a great pleasure for me,” Bamazi said.

Bamazi, like the other four artists, is a luminary among the African-American art community; beginning with a surreal painting style that, while still present, evolved into powerful portraits.

“I’ve changed styles. It was very surrealistic, bizarre — very, very bizarre. I was into some deep, crazy stuff,” Bamazi said. “[Now] I compose surrealism, abstract and realism inside my work. The figures are realism and the setting is abstract.”

Bamazi’s story is as inspiring as his paintings are stunningly exquisite (and massive). Bamazi moved to New York City from Togo (West Africa) in 1995 and earned an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. He relocated to Columbus shortly after and opened KIACA Gallery in 2003.

The impact Bamazi had with the gallery was expansive. He was quickly recognized as an exciting new artist with powerful works. Bamazi also mentored other young artists to create a thematic and aesthetic structure for an exhibition that would astound.

“I would book artists two or three years in advance, and I guide them. I’m very hands-on to … help create a series from their body of work. Some are very talented artists but they don’t understand that concept. Once they saw it, they understood how [important a series is].”

KIACA Gallery closed in 2010, but Bamazi promises a new space is “going to happen” because he’s on a quest.

“Every day that I get a breath, is a search for me … a search for wisdom,” Bamazi said.

Photo by Meghan Ralston