About the Artists


Samuel Akainyah was born in Ghana, West Africa, the son of a Justice of the Ghanaian Supreme Court. After early education in Ghanaian and English boarding schools, Akainyah immigrated to the United States to continue his studies in Fine Art at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Following his graduation, he pursued graduate studies in Diplomacy and International Law at The University of Chicago's Graduate Committee on International Relations. One of his frescos was sold at the highest bid at a celebrity auction held at Christie's. His traveling exhibition AKAINYAH - the Art of Liberation - a tribute to Nelson Mandela and to the memory of all those who have died in the political prisons of South Africa, has received nationwide and worldwide recognition.  

In addition to painting, teaching, working in his art gallery, and writing his third book, Professor Akainyah serves the Ghana National Council and has made contributions to many organizations, including Rald Institute. Due to his tremendous contributions to the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois, he was honored by the Cook County Board of Commissioners and was elected as the official artist of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1999. He is the first artist in three hundred years to achieve that honor in United States history.

In 1994, Professor Beverly Ross-Normand wrote and hosted a 40-minute television program for children called “Initiations”, an interdisciplinary curricular treatment on Akainyah’s important painting of the positive way young Black males in Ghana are initiated into society, in contrast to the harmful initiations taking place in the American gang subculture.

One of the world’s most distinguished and successful artists, Akainyah remains very humble and close to common people. He models love for his wife and children and writes about the sacredness of life and art.

Donald Baker, Sr. (a.k.a. Aki) was born and educated in Chicago, and earned his Masters Degree in Art from the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design. He earned a second Masters degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Mr. Baker taught for Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges until stricken with physical disabilities. He has volunteered at churches and community institutions even while ill. His work is contained in schools, museums and in private collections. "I like to take wood from trees and found objects and create three dimensional effects on two dimensional surfaces," he said.

Joel Alexander Brandon (1947 - 2003) was a world famous whistler/flutist/artist who taught children in the Inclusion art workshops for Rald Institute in the late 1990's between performances and travels abroad. Joel helped musicians all over the world by encouraging, teaching and transcribing music. He recorded with many orchestras and jazz groups, made his own jazz albums and was closely associated with The Chicago Art Ensemble and the AACM in Chicago and New York. He was loved by musicians and artists of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and collaborated with thousands of artists on projects. Beverly Ross Normand, a lifelong friend and colleague, assisted him with lyrics for his final musical composition, a gospel suite, and with distribution of music and sale of clocks he designed. A few of the rare works bequeathed to Normand are offered in Rald Institute's auction.

Jesse Greene is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago And his work has been exhibited in many Chicago galleries and art shows. The young artist is quickly making a name for himself and is very interested in helping institutions. The institutions are very excited about his contemporary works. Rald Institute is offering his "Blue 2," a painting done in 2005.

William Hunt is a native of Mississippi and is a self-taught artist whose travels brought him to Chicago, Illinois, where he lived briefly and assisted Rald Institute. He donated to Rald and also made it possible for Rald Institute to purchase his oil painting, "Ellington."

Bayo Iribhogbe was born in Nigeria and migrated to the United States after graduating from Ahmadu Bello University at Zaria. Bayo says he appreciates living in the U.S.A. and is sticking with art. "Always accompanied with my native music, I paint about us, from our weaknesses to our fortitudes and vice versa. I feel the same spirit that drives us into what we go through every day. I am a color centric painter. I respond to my mood naturally. I start with any color or hue and go from there to produce that human touch that keeps the viewer engaged so that the more you look, the more you see." Mr. Iribhogbe lives in New York City.

Omar Lama is a Chicago artist known for his brilliant depiction of African motifs and the African American experience.  Omar was one of the founding members of Africobra, the awesome and highly respected group of Black artists that provided the visual component of the Black Pride Movement that began in Chicago in 1967, and relocated its base to Howard University in Washington, D.C..  His works are contained in museums, schools, universities and private collections in the United States and abroad. He was commissioned by many universities, political organizations and cultural organizations to design art related to Africa. Omar attended the Art Institute of Chicago, the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, and Chicago State University.
 
Dayo Laoye graduated from the School of Fine Art, Yaba College of Technology in Nigeria. His early formal training involved learning the styles of modern Masters. In 1988 while studying at the Department of Art, Howard University in Washington, D.C., he was influenced by the philosophy of Dr. Alain Lockes, who challenged Black artists to incorporate their ancestry into their work. "My style is ritualistic. I extract the essence out of form through the use of tones, texture and lines while keeping the identity of the subject. This was the goal of African artists---straight, direct and to the point."

Seitu Nurullah (pen name Rah-bird) earned degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He taught exceptional children in private and public schools in Chicago and retired to Ghana, West Africa. His fabric designs are contained in private collections, schools, and museums in the U.S.A. and abroad. Mr. Nurullah donated "Abstract in Blue" and other works to Rald Institute. During the mid to late 1960’s, Nurullah began focusing on “wearable” art and had most of his fabric made into dresses, coats, scarves, pillows, curtains and functional art. His apparel business flourished and he remains one of the most important fabric designers, especially among collectors.

Edward G. Strong, an artist and retired police officer, has volunteered his services as an artist for over forty years, beginning when he was a commercial art student at Dunbar Vocational High School and a young student at Chicago Teacher's College.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions from the City of Chicago, United Methodist churches, Boy Scouts of America, and other organizations for giving his time to help children, policemen and seniors learn lettering and painting. He created the mixed media collage on canvas, "Summer" and other original works to benefit Rald Institute. He teaches art for the City of Chicago and is a volunteer for several institutions . Mr. Strong's works are contained in private collections, churches, schools, and City of Chicago buildings. He has spent the past five years helping seniors with disabilities.

Charles Lucius Whitman (1945 - 1992) was a gifted Chicago artist who did extraordinary work before he entered Hirsch High School. He began teaching art as a freshman in high school. He attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The American Academy of Art, but usually ended up teaching his teachers. He was known for his skill in drawing the human figure and for his beautiful portraits. Many artists studied with Whitman. The famous muralist, Mitchell Caton, studied with Whitman and stated that Whitman's work was "comparable to the European masters." Whitman taught some of the first art workshops at Rald Institute and donated some of his work. His works are contained in private collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia and in museums and art schools.

William H. Wallace aka Onikwa (1938-2008) Over the past 40 years, Bill Wallace's haunting photographs have captured the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Pride Movement, jazz legendaries, orthodox and unorthodox religion, and much more.  He continues to lead as photojournalist, producer, and cameraman.  Wallace (aka Onikwa), a native of Chicago, has received numerous awards over the years, including the coveted, Best News Photo from the National Newspaper Publishers' Association and the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.  He began his career at the age of thirteen, and studied painting, sculpture and music, too.  He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the South Side Community Art Center, Southern Media, an organization created to teach filmmaking to African-Americans, and National Educational Television's (NET) Minority Training Program.  "The Poor People's Corporation in Mississippi started Southern Media, an organization created to teach filmmaking to African-Americans", he said.  "I moved to Jackson to participate in the program which was launched by Gere Martin, Director of Design for the San Francisco Art Institute.  For a year, I lived between Jackson, Mississippi and New York City, so that I could also study filmmaking at NET."  Wallace returned to Chicago in 1970 and spent four years as staff photographer for the Chicago Defender newspaper.  In 1974, he worked at Malcolm X College, creating science and reading learning modules with a team of graphic artists, writers and academic specialists.  "We worked on modules that were individualized, based on student needs.  I considered that job one of the best opportunities to serve."  In 1977, he moved to Memphis to work as photographer and manager for the Tri-State Defender newspaper.  He also worked as a news cameraman for WHBK-13 for several years.  "I then moved to WREG-TV, where I was Producer/Cameraman for Dateline Memphis, a public affairs show.  In 1984, Wallace moved back to Chicago and founded BW Productions and was commissioned by McDonald's, Kraft Foods, the Cook County Public Defender's Office, the United Methodist Church, The United States Navy Memorial and many other companies. "Since 1984, my career in video, film, and television production has taken me from war-torn Liberia in West Africa; to the Navajo Reservations of the Southwest; to the resettled Hmong People of Minnesota; to the temple of a voodoo priestess in New Orleans", he stated. 

Mr. Wallace supported, encouraged, and mentored Rald Institute Founders and volunteers for over twenty years.   

Reflecting upon his recent death (October 1,2008), Beverly Normand stated, “He was a gift to the world and one of the most intelligent, hardworking, and generous artists I have ever known. He was exceptionally pleasant and humorous. Yet, none excelled him in analytical and creative abilities and his unique expressive language style in which he juxtaposed serious analysis and synthesis of technical, cultural, historical, psychological, or spiritual subjects against jokes and laughter, often within a brief conversation. He was an aesthetic guru, attracting ever-expanding circles of learned artists and scholars, rich and poor, black and white, young and old. His photographs and films are extremely valuable aesthetic contributions. What’s more is that so much is in permanent collections. He was organizing photographs to publish in book form, too. We have more of his great work to look forward to. His work will grow in value and historical importance. It will stimulate, entertain, enlighten, and surely confront traditional aesthetic notions. People will always be thinking about Onikwa and his works, and how to classify and assess all of it.”


Dalushaka Mugwana is an accomplished artist, specializing in sculpture, printmaking, drawings and jewelry.  He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  He has exhibited extensively in Chicago, his home town, and many other cities in the U.S.A.  He has also exhibited in Morocco, Tunisia, East Africa, Hawaii and other countries.  He has received numerous awards and honors.  Recently, he returned to exhibit in the Chicago area where he won 1st place in several exhibits.  He also made it possible for Rald Institute to obtain the stunning pen and ink portrait of Biggie Smalls.    
Vera Johnson is a self-taught artist whose work has been represented at Vale Craft Gallery in Chicago's River North Gallery District since 1997.  Working in the medium of basketry, Mrs. Johnson's fabric-wrapped, hand coiled and stitched vessels are visions of dreams that are God-given gifts.  And having received no formal art education, she believes that her artistic talent is truly "A Gift from God..." She has participated in national art shows and festivals in various parts of the country, and is currently in the process of reintroducing her work to the Chicago area and the Midwest.  Mrs. Johnson has been an exhibitor in such prestigious shows as DuSable Museum's Annual Promonade, the Chicago Artist's Coalition's 1998 Chicago Art Open, Savannah, GA's First Saturday on River Street, and her work was chosen to represent Vale Craft Gallery at Chicago's O'Hare Airport's International Concourse for an extended exhibition that was sponsored by the Chicago Artist's Coalition in 1998.  Mrs. Johnson has been honored with a lifetime invitation to exhibit in the highly respected group art exhibit, "Through our Eyes, An Expression of African American Art", that is held annually at Jacksonville's (FL) LaVilla Museum, which is located in James Weldon Johnson's old homestead neighborhood. 

Robert A. Sengstacke
 is an award-winning photojournalist who has forged and maintained the line of cutting-edge photography for the past 50 years, and has become one of America's foremost photographic artists.  Sengstacke's love for the visual arts began as a child, and early on, he studied drawing and painting.  His interest in the visual arts continued to evolve and change with the gift of a camera and his introduction to photography at the age of 14.  At the age of 16, he opened and operated a very successful portrait studio in the basement of his parents home and also launched his career as a freelance photojournalist, covering assignments for the youth section of the Chicago Defender, his family's newspaper and publishing company.  He began traveling during his college years to Los Angeles, where he worked as a photojournalist for the Los Angeles Centennial newspaper, and as an under study to Los Angeles fashion and glamour photographer, Lemont McLemore.  His experiences gained through global travels changed his development as a photographic artist.  The rich cultural influences of the societies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Brazil, Mexico and Jamaica added a world-perspective and insight that further honed his craft.   While living in New York, Sengstacke worked with clients such as Eastman Kodak, The New York Public Library, AT&T, a number of Wall Street insurance companies, and several federal government agencies.  He has also been able to maintain a successful stock-photography business.  With a shrewd knack for marketing and almost innate business acumen, Sengstacke has been able to broker agreements that have led to his historical works being exhibited and published throughout the world.  Additionally, he maintains a video production company that has produced over 50 mini-documentaries.  He has supported Rald Institute for many years with donations of his work. 
His photographic works are recognized all over the world as some of the most significant images taken of the Civil Rights Movement and The Nation of Islam.  His photographs and profiles have appeared in LIFE, Ebony, Jet, Essence, The Washington Post,  The New York Times, The Houston Post, The Chicago Tribune and Spike Lee's School Daze.  His photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was featured on the set of Patti LaBelle's TV Sitcom, Out All Night.  Stanford University's History Department selected 100 of Sengstackes's photos that were used to chronicle the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..  Other Sengstacke works have been exhibited several times at The Smithsonian Institution, The DuSable Museum of African-American History, The Museum of Science and Industry, Spelman College, The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Circle Campus, The University of Illinois Urbana Campus and The University of Minnesota.  Sengstacke's sheer ability to capture and accurately depict the African-American experience, both its triumph and tribulation, highlights those who have stood at the center of the world stage.   Sengstacke has captured the famous and the infamous, the saint and the sinner, kings and the common man.  His photographs have received national as well as international recognition and acclaim.  His works featuring the Late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have been displayed at the Statue of Liberty.  Other works have appeared at the renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.  The Schomburg Center, now part of the New York City Public Library System, is a repository of 50 of Sengstacke's King photographs and 20 of The Nation of Islam.  Sengstacke is noted as the first African-American photographer from Chicago to have a major exhibition to appear in Chicago's Loop at the main branch of the Chicago Public Library in 1969.   During a review of his work in 1987, The New York Times defined him as, "one of the most significant photographers of the Civil Rights generation."  Sengstacke stated, "My journey of self-discovery encompassed a desire to achieve a sense of contentment in reaching a plateau of success."  This journey would take him on a quest that would lead him to become the Chicago Defender's head photographer and editor; Muhammad Speaks' first non-Moslem staff photographer; Artist-in-Residence at Fisk University; General Manager and Publisher of the Memphis Tri-State Defender; Photographer on photo assignments for Eastman Kodak Co.; and Photographer for The Phil Donahue Show.
Sengstacke's photos have appeared in:  The Black Photographers Annual; Negro Digest (Johnson Publications); Black Artists on Art (Samella S. Lewis & Ruth G. Waddy); The Words of Martin Luther King (Coretta Scott King); Martin & Malcolm & America (James H. Cone); Million Man March (Michael H. Cottman, Crown Trade Paperbacks); Million Man March: Day of Absence, A Commemorative Anthology (Haki R. Madhubuti & Maulana Karenga, Third World Press); Beyond Racism: Embracing An Interdependent Future (Overvew Report/International Working and Advisory Group & The Comparative Human Relations Initiative); Walls of Heritage/Walls of Pride: African-American Murals (James Prigoff & Robin Dunitz, Pomegranate Communications, Inc.); In Search of America (Peter Jennings & Todd Brewster, Hyperion Books ); Diego Rivera: A Retrospective (Founders Society Detroit Institute of Arts & Penguin Books, Canada); Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to Present (Deborah Willis, W. W. Norton & Company); Black Nationalism: A Search for An Identity In America (E. U. Essien-Udom, University of Chicago Press); Malcolm X: The Great Photographs (Stewart, Tabori & Chang Publishers, Inc.); Collecting African-American Art (Halima Taha, Crown Publishers); The Dream Lives On: Martin Luther King, Jr. (Sandra Millner, Metro Books); African-American Art (Sharon F. Patton, Oxford Press) In The Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Tinwood Books); KING: The Photography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Charles Johnson & Bob Adelman); The Black New Yorkers: The Schomburg Illustrated Chronology-400 Years of African-American History (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); and Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Celebration of Black Prayer: The Schomburg Center For Reseach in Black Culture-The New York Public Library (Free Press), amongst countless more.
 
More of Sengstacke's photos can be found in exhibition catalogs such as:  Black Photographers Bear Witness: 100 Years of Social Protest (D. Willis & H. Dodson, Williams College Museum of Art); Two Schools: New York & Chicago-Contemporary African-American Photography of the 60's and 70's (Kenkeleba Gallery, New York); On Freedom: The Art of Photojournalism (The Studio Museum In Harlem); Tradition & Conflict: Images of a Turbulent Decade: 1963-1973 (The Studio Museum In Harlem); and Southern Eye, Southern Mind: A Photographic Inquiry ( The Memphis Academy of Arts).   Sengstacke's photography is so rare and renowned that collections of his work have been procured by the likes of former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, actor Robert Guillaume, the late comedian Redd Foxx, former Cook County Board President John Stroger, Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago Chuck Bowden, Lester McKeever, Dr. Maurice & Madeline Rabb , Dr. Leo King of San Antonio, TX, Andrew Wright of New York City, Fisk University, Stanford University, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Crysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, Williams College, African Art Collector Paul Jones and Curator/Author Deborah Willis.

Eugene Mitchell
has been drawing cartoons for as long as he can remember.  He won a scholarship to the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in his senior year at Simeon Vocational High School.  He studied at Malcolm X College, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the American Academy of Fine Art.  He finished the Famous Artists Cartoon Course and studied under Orville Hurst, illustrator for the Wild Kingdom television show.  "I learned a lot and was inspired by Orville," he said.  Mitchell has worked for various companies and newpapers as an illustrator and cartoonist for many years.  He is currently working on a book and works as an art teacher at the Beverly Art Center in Chicago.  "I like to write cartoons and gags and am inspired by the people and things around me.  I'm inspired by spiritual readings and my work expresses the joy I feel about my ethnic heritage.  I believe God wants me to help people, too," he said. 
Eugene Mitchell was inspired to create several works of art to benefit Rald Institute.

Robert Borja lives and works in Chicago. He studied at the Academy of Art, Institute of Design, Art Institute, Columbia College, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Cathedrale Notre Dame de LePuy, and Stiftsbibliotek at Sankt Gallen. He was a graphic designer for Science Digest for six years, then a freelance book designer/illustrator for local publishers; wrote and illustrated articles for Calligraphy Review, Letter Arts Review, Print, Creative Communicator and wrote and illustrated books: Making Collages, Making Chinese Papercuts, and other books. He was awarded The Newberry Purchase Prize for Calligraphy: Lincoln Thought manuscript book. He taught calligraphy for many years at Daley College, University of Chicago Eclectic Program and at art centers. He is past president of Society of Typographic Arts and Chicago Calligraphy Collective. He is the Director of Renaissance Society and has exhibited locally and at Galarie d/Orsay, Paris, Imperial College London, NTV Tokyo, Peace Museum and elsewhere. He wrote,
“It is the shaping of words with my own hand to look like what they say, that satisfies me. When I took up the practice, I never guessed the possibilities for expression in it. There are always techniques and media to discover and explore. These compositions of gestural trails are related to drawing for me.”

Barbara O’Connor is a photographer who obtained her Masters degree from Loyola University and did Doctoral studies at the University of Chicago. She studied with master photographers, Gary Barash, Art Wolf, Frans Lanting and George Lepp. She did political photography for Robert F. Kennedy, Harold Washington and many others. She is a community organizer and former Director of the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference in Chicago, and is a member of the Artisans 21 Cooperative. “I now do nature photography,” she said. “I photograph endangered land and animals which are threatened by things such as global warming and pollution.”
Yaounde Olu, Ph.D., earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois Teachers College in Chicago, and her Masters in Art from Governors State University. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Naprapathy from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy. She earned certificates in publishing from the University of Chicago’s Publishing Program and is a member of the National Council of Geocosmic Research (NCGR) and is Level III certified. She earned a Doctorate in Holistic Medicine from the Union Institute and studied Medical Astrology and Homeopathy with renowned Medical Astrologer, Eileen Nauman. Dr. Olu is an award-winning editorial cartoonist, artist, astrologer, educator, researcher, accomplished musician, and is hosting exemplary jazz radio programs.  

Dr. Olu has been a supporter of artist programs for many years and has helped Rald over the years. She has donated to this auction by giving six of her original graphic designs, including Ebixian V, Ebixian Floathaus, Ebixia, Gemini and others. Rald Institute is very honored and thankful to have her participation.

 
Dale Normand is a native of Chicago and has been drawing and painting continuously since early childhood. He is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Many of his stunning oil paintings depict common life in the African American community. A significant body of his work depicts the birth and death of Jesus Christ. He has also produced magnificent, shocking works depicting the trials and tribulations of the African American experience. Almost all of his paintings are in private collections and are generally purchased before they are completed; thus few have ever been available for exhibitions. Rald Institute thanks the artist for this rare opportunity.
 
Steve Walker, who holds a B. F. A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited at the University of Illinois Medical Center, the Art Institute, Drexel National Bank, Woodlawn Urban Progress Center, South Side Community Art Center, Afam Studio and Gallery, Richard Gray Gallery, Alan Frumkin Gallery, and elsewhere. Private collectors throughout the country and Yale University have acquired his work. Walker is a full-time artist working in oils, collages, and pen and ink.
 
Maya Escobar, a talented young interdisciplinary artist, is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited and worked locally and abroad. Maya’s latest work, “Acciones Plasticas”, includes videos related to her Jewish-American-Guatemalan heritage. “My work translates ongoing anthropological and sociological investigation into accessible narrative forms, incorporating technical skills in multiple mediums…I reclaim ownership of myself; I transform my body and self into an object used within the performed ritual, which is then documented through analog and digital photo, video and collage.” Maya’s recent work is described by Rabbi Brant Rosen and others as “quite powerful and discussion provoking, and brilliantly successful for those of us who want art to challenge, to dig deep, and to confront preconceived notions of identity.” The photograph included in Rald Institute’s auction/sale was taken by Maya Escobar in Guatemala in 2004.  We thank Maya for “Conversaciones”, a beautiful, original pastel which she has donated to benefit Rald Institute.
 
Eselean Goree Henderson (1917 – 2004) was a nationally recognized Potter for forty years. She graduated from Lindbloom High School and Wilson Junior College in Chicago, and received her B.S. degree from George Williams College. She studied additional ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago. She served as docent at the Field Museum in Chicago for nine years, in both the African Exhibit and the Pawnee Indian Lodge. Her work was displayed in museums, galleries, universities, and elsewhere. She appeared on television shows, was on radio programs and taught workshops and classes extensively in Chicago and Illinois. She was highly respected and loved by students, artists, and patrons of the arts, and all of her pottery was sold, and is in private collections. Rald Institute is very humbled and happy to have this rare opportunity to offer Eselean’s work.
 
Gideon Manasseh is a photographer, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City for the past forty years. He worked at CBS Television (Morning News) for ten years. He also worked on various low budget films over the years, but found financial stability working as a free-lance photographer in the Harlem community. “I still love filmmaking and documentaries. I loved working with Howard T. Cash and Marcia Fingal, two wonderful, dedicated people who photographed and filmed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. I did a great video production of their outstanding work, and thank the talented editors, George Lamboy and Derek Griffith for helping me make this a success. It takes team work to make film and video productions.” Rald Institute thanks Gideon Manasseh for countless in-kind photographic sessions and other support to help photograph the art for our website.
 

Darryl J. Collins (1950-2002) started the Woodlawn Ceramics business in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. “He was one of the most eloquent and philosophical of contemporary ceramists,” artist Alicia Griffin wrote. “He incorporated the quiet eastern/western aesthetic ideals and deep human feeling into the pots he created. Darryl was more ambivalent about his own role as a pot maker/artist/designer. He saw his pots as part of a powerful, generative force in nature, a point he emphasized in his 4,500 sq. ft. South Los Angeles studio, through works, which displayed various moods, from the intense rainstorm, to the cold winter night, or a flaming hot summer day. He picked and chose inspiration for supplementary motifs from various ceramic traditions of the world, including Asian, European, South and Central American.” Darryl worked in The Big Turn Studio in Venice, California and Pelican Pottery in Santa Monica. He worked for several years studying and experimenting with many forms of glazing techniques as well as developing his own glaze formulas. “He departed, leaving a legacy of photographic images, musical arrangements, and a deep-rooted love of birds and numerous lofts he designed to house them,” his cousin, Alicia Griffin wrote.

*Quotes taken from a book in progress by Alicia Griffin entitled, Tougeik.
 
Alicia L. Griffin established Loy D’zign Studio in 1976 in a loft on Astor Street in Chicago, Illinois. She developed two-dimensional technical illustrations for the surface design market in Chicago. In 1979, she relocated to Los Angeles, California, producing two-dimensional works of art, leather cushions and accessories, that sold exclusively through Houstech, Inc., a high tech interior design home and office establishment, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris. She also worked with Pillows, Inc., a manufacturing firm with showrooms in Beverly Hills, New York and Dallas. Alicia developed prototypes of sculptures for art in public places and proposals for new living/workspaces for artists/designers in the Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills and Inglewood communities. Alicia extended her design concepts to become a conceptual arts studio, specializing in the development and fabrication of trophies, plaques and art accessories for organizations and trade associations. “I believe that as an artist, I must protest/challenge existing forms, shapes, dimensions and even conceptual circumstances. I seek oneness through self-expression, utilizing such avenues as custom designed leather pillows and bags, in addition to stationery, scarves, sculptures and photographs. I also created black and white motifs for animated film series.” Currently, Alicia Griffin is working on leather sculpture, photography, pen and ink designs and a series of books about artists from around the world. Alicia donated her 2001 stainless steel Minimalist Vase Prototype and her 2008 photograph, “The Cross” to benefit Rald Institute. Rald Institute and its beneficiaries are honored and very grateful for these works of art. 

Alicia L. Griffin’s work is internationally recognized and is currently on exhibit at Galleria D’ Arte Mentana in Florence, Italy, and will be exhibited at another gallery in Italy in the Fall/Winter of 2008. She continues to exhibit in California and other galleries in the United States.

Murry N. DePillars, Ph.D.(1938-2008), a renowned artist and scholar, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and earned his A.A. in Fine Arts from Kennedy-King College, his B.A. in Art Education and M.A. in Urban Studies from Roosevelt University, and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. DePillars was one of the distinguished young members of AfriCobra, and highly respected as an artist/scholar as early as 1968 when his drawing, “Aunt Jemima” a depiction of Aunt Jemima charging out of the pancake box, drew national attention from artists, educators, students, and others involved with the Black Pride/Civil Rights Movement. In 1971, DePillars moved to Richmond, Virginia to work as an Assistant Dean at Virginia Commonwealth University, and soon after became Dean of the School of the Arts, until his retirement in 1995. Under his leadership, the Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts earned national and international recognition. DePillars returned to Chicago to assist Chicago State University as Vice President for several years and retired in 1998 to devote his focus full-time to his artwork.

Exhibiting extensively over a period of over forty years, his artwork was shown in universities and galleries including, but not limited to, Roosevelt University, The Institute of Positive Education, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Southside Community Art Center, Nicole Gallery in Chicago, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum of Harlem in New York, The Mississippi Museum of Art, The Orlando Museum of Art, Hampton University Museum, Pine Camp Arts and Community Center, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and numerous other institutions. His work is in private and public collections in the United State and abroad.

In his artist statement, DePillars stated, “My approach to painting has been influenced by the six aesthetic priorities of early African American quilt makers, and their concept of “building”, rather than sewing a quilt. The six aesthetic priorities of these early quilt makers are: (1) Vertical strip organization; (2) Bold or high-keyed colors accented by lower-keyed or earth tones; (3) Repeated or varied large design elements, motifs influenced by African and European symbols; (4) Asymmetrical designs; (5) Multiple or rhythmic patterning; and (6) Improvisation. These aesthetic priorities and “building” quilts influenced me to adopt a flat geometric approach to “building” paintings. In my paintings, repeated patterns in a standardized repeated grid system from top to bottom and side-to-side form the foundational design. At varying intervals, overlays of opaque and transparent flat motifs are painted or built upon these foundational designs. This creates two or three layers of smaller geometric designs. These smaller muted and multi-colored patterns alter the directional axis of the foundational design. By introducing transparencies of African, Native American, Haitian and/or coded symbols used among slavery era quilt makers, the value distance between surrounding designs painted in higher hue colors is accentuated. Among Black quilt makers, this is known as “playing the fabric”, and by jazz musicians as “shading the count”. By contrast, the foundational designs not treated with transparent overlays create what is known in music as “spacing” or “rests”, which intensifies the higher keyed and muted colors. Art historian, Robert Farris Thompson characterized this form of design patterning and color usage as “attack coloration”, “technicolor staccato” and “off-beat phasing of geometric accents”. Animals, reptiles and birds are introduced as metaphors supporting the painting’s narrative. Coded symbols found in some slavery era quilts that assisted in planning escapes, identifying safe houses and providing directional signs to freedom, are introduced in some paintings as transparencies. Among these symbols are “Bear’s Paw”, “Crossroads”, “Flying Geese”, “Drunkard’s Path”, and “North Star”. These coded transparencies, also known as “ghost patterns”, are also employed to support the painting’s narrative.”

Murry DePillars was a long-time mentor, friend and colleague of Rald Institute’s Founder, Beverly Ross Normand, and he donated several prints to the institution to assist with fund raising efforts. Rald Institute is most grateful for his gracious donations. Upon learning of Murry’s death, Beverly stated, “I met Murry when I was a young undergraduate psychology student at Roosevelt University in the late 1960’s. I designed and made jewelry to supplement my income. Murry was very kind and helpful to the younger students and occasionally allowed us to visit and watch him work, and bring our work, too. He was quiet, extremely hard working, intelligent, and took the time to help us with any problem we presented to him. Over the years, he kept in touch and let us know about his accomplishments at The School of the Arts in Virginia. When he returned to Chicago in the 1990’s, I observed him helping pupils with a myriad of issues at Chicago State University and patiently assisting everyone. He was a master of the caring ethic and certainly a fine example of democratic leadership in school administration. I will always remember his multiple contributions as artist and scholar. I believe his life and works could positively impact the current generation of young men in crises, those outside of academia. I would like to take this moment to salute Murry, his wife and immediate family, those who mentored him, and all who supported him over the years, including AfriCobra artists.”

Gerald Sanders, an American Contemporary Realist, is a self-taught artist, born in Marianna, Arkansas to parents who were sharecroppers. His family moved to Chicago when he was a child. Gerald has been drawing since the age of five, and his work has been selling since he was eleven years old. At fifteen, he was teaching art out of his parents’ apartment. By the age of seventeen, Mrs. Rose Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and the Sears Foundation were numbered among the owners of Gerald’s original works.

Gerald won many awards in high school and was the subject of many newspaper articles, including a three-page article in the Chicago Sun Times’ Midwest Magazine in 1967, the year he graduated. After various freelance jobs in art, Gerald was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he became an Arts & Craft instructor in Special Services at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. There, he taught drawing and painting and learned how to teach photography, ceramics, and candle making. It was while teaching in the army that Gerald further developed the technique he started as a teenager. His technique became a phenomenal success. 

After serving in the military and a brief stint in college, Gerald became a graphic artist with the Hysan Corporation in Chicago, where he designed over 3,000 products. He became Assistant Art Director and Consumer Accounts Designer before leaving in 1988. Aside from teaching privately, Gerald Sanders was Director and primary Art Instructor of the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, from 1990 to 2002. During that time, he was in constant demand for workshops, seminars, television, art schools, and universities in the United States, Canada, Africa and Hawaii. Gerald has had over fifty exhibitions and his work is in hundreds of collections of corporations, institutions, and in private collections and books.

Gerald Sanders has assisted Rald Institute by teaching children’s workshops for over ten years as a volunteer instructor and Director of Art. He has also donated several of his works and works by other artists. He has helped hundreds of educators, business people, and artists perfect their craft. Most of his adult students include very successful artists, and his works are in demand. Rald Institute takes this opportunity to salute a wonderful artist who has given many years of in-kind services to help children - especially those with special needs.

Margaret Taylor-Burroughs
, one of the most prominent, influential African-American artists in America, was born in 1917 in Saint Rose, Louisiana, and moved with her parents to Chicago, Illinois at the age of five. In 1937, she earned her teaching certificate from Chicago Normal College and earned an art-teaching certificate from Chicago Teachers College in 1939. By 1948, she had earned her Bachelors and Masters in Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at Esmeralda Art School in Mexico City for two years, and attended Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1939, at the age of twenty-two, she founded the South Side Community Art Center, the oldest and most unique African American gallery/school in America.

In 1961, Dr. Burroughs and her husband, the late Charles Gordon Burroughs (Poet and Founder of the Associated Negro Press), founded the DuSable Museum of African American History on the ground floor of their Chicago home. It operated in their home for the first ten years of its existence, with Margaret serving as Executive Director. The museum, which is now located in Chicago’s Washington Park and has over one hundred thousand visitors annually, is considered one of the greatest contributions to African American history and culture made by Dr. Burroughs. The DuSable Museum is now part of an eight-member Museum Consortium that includes the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, and is currently recognized nationally and internationally.

Burroughs has worked in a variety of mediums including, oils, acrylics, sculpture, and batik. But, she is best known as a printmaker, working with linoleum blocks to produce images depicting African American culture. Her work has been exhibited all over the world and she has received innumerable awards and honors, for her art, poetry, essays, teaching, and civic work, including the American Forum for International Study. Other honors and recognition include, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Young Women Christian Association Leadership Award; Excellence in Art Award; National Association of Negro Women’s Caucus for Art Award; Houston Museum of Fine Art Award and the Paul Robeson Award. Her books include, What Shall I Tell My Children Who are Black?; Jasper, The Drummin’ Boy; Did You Feed My Cow? and Africa, My Africa.

Marva Pitchford Jolly was born in a tiny farm community in Crenshaw, Mississippi, near the Northern Tennessee border. She spent more than twenty years in teaching and social service careers. She is currently Professor of Ceramics at Chicago State University. Her earlier work was heavily influenced by African hand-building techniques. The textural effects of this method are enriched by her use of earth tones and under glazes that provide a muted background for her figures. Ranging from stick figures to abstraction, her personal style communicates and depicts the energy of the black people in the Mississippi cotton fields where she grew up. Her current work has progressed to use an assortment of found objects including nails, rags, beads, and glass.
Her mother, the sculpture of Elizabeth Catlett, Georgia O’Keefe’s use of color and eye for beauty in the unexpected, and black women’s spiritual energy and transcendence, influence her work. Marva’s pottery and sculpture are an expression of the diversity, unity and spiritual quest that forms her life as an African-American Woman. 
   

Obry Collins was born in Bessemer, Alabama and moved to Chicago as a young child. He graduated from Crane Technical High and Malcolm X College, and continued his education at DePaul University. With AfriCobra, he studied with artists, Barbara Jones Hogu and Napoleon Jones-Henderson. Obry is the recipient of various art awards and has designed leather works for educators, business people, students and entertainers for forty years.

“I was a painter and figure drawing artist initially, and studied weaving with Napoleon Jones-Henderson . Barbara Jones Hogu inspired me to work with leather. She insisted that her students work in more than one discipline if we wanted top grades. She suggested that since I was so neat, leather would be a good option for me. She also insisted that I make patterns for my work. I completed my first leather project for her in 1969. Before I finished the project, which was a camera bag, I had three orders for the bag. So, Barbara is responsible for my career as a leather craftsman. I took my first weaving classes with Napoleon Jones-Henderson and began weaving at his shop, making rugs and wall hangings. We often worked from seven o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night. His skill, discipline and work ethic influenced and inspired me. I ended up switching from drawing, ceramics and weaving, to leather designs because of the increased sales potential. My work is therapeutic. I believe in the importance of having quality products; I also believe in the importance of teaching and its impact on students. I taught at the Shule Wa Toto School and at many Lutheran churches.”

Napoleon Jones-Henderson, one of the most prolific artists and scholars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the United States, continues to enrich our understanding of the African American aesthetic, history and condition through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, consultations and college teaching. He is the Executive Director of the Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts, Inc., in Roxbury, Massachusetts; Associate Professor of Art, Benedict College; Artist Critic/Lecturer, Vermont College of Norwich University; Ford Foundation Artist-in-Residence; Juror at Hampton University Museum; past President of the National Conference of Artists; and original member of the AfriCobra Collective.

Professor Jones-Henderson studied at The American Artist and Student Center and Sorbonne in Paris, earned his BFA in Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Graduate Studies at Northern Illinois University. His awards include the Merit of Honor Award, Walters Art Museum; Artist-in-Residence in Print Making, Towson University; Traveling Fellowship Award, Walters Art Museum; Official Citation, The Senate of Maryland; Award of Recognition for Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit from Mayor of Boston; Traveling Fellowship Recipient, Art Institute of Chicago; Artist-in-Residence Fellow, Northeastern University, Boston; Museum of Science and Industry Award for Outstanding Recognition; Outstanding Young Men of America ;FESTAC 77, United States Zone Representative, Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa; Award for Artistic Excellence, Mayor of Washington, D.C., and many other awards.

Among his essays and publications are, “New Power Generation 2008” exhibition, Hampton University Museum; “Bridging the Gap”, video documentation, Du Bois Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2006; Juror’s Statement, Monmouth County Arts Council’s Annual Art Exhibition, Monmouth, NJ, 2006; Drum Magazine, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; 250 years of Afro-American Presence in Massachusetts; 250 Years of Afro-American Art, Lynn M. Igoe, author; Fiber Arts Magazine; Black Art: Ancestral Legacy, Regina Perry, author; Uncommon Beauty in Common Objects, National Afro-American Museum, Wilberforce, OH; Weaver’s Study Guide, Else Regensteiner, author; Celebrating African Identity, Politics and Icons of Representation, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

Jones-Henderson’s works are in numerous private collections throughout the world and in the Art Institute of Chicago; the H. Lawrence McCrorey Gallery, University of Vermont; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York; Hampton University Museum in Virginia; West Virginia State College; Bell Telephone Company of Illinois; DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago; Studio Museum, New York; Brandywine Print Archive, Philadelphia; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, and elsewhere. Representative exhibitions by Napoleon Jones-Henderson span a period of over forty years, throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia and the West Indies. In a recent interview, Jones-Henderson stated, “I’ve been drawing since the age of 4 or 5. I decided during high school that art would be my career. My work is about a process of observing the world we live in. It’s about abstract tension. I like strong, positive imagery and work that reflects positively.  I like the use of strong color  like the checkerboard/chess theme. I’ve started working with collages. Slavery is when the mind has bought into captivity.”

Rald Institute’s founding members, board of directors, and beneficiaries are very grateful for art donations given by Napoleon. We thank him for taking time out from his exhausting schedule to visit our art workshop, record some of our history, and encourage us. We also thank him for major contributions he made as an artist, scholar and philosopher, and for helping African Americans and all people understand the art of struggle and agitation…and its power to create positive change.
 
Catherine Cajandig is a painter, printmaker and muralist. She received Bachelor and Master degrees in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Catherine also earned a Master of Fine Art degree from Instituto Allende University of Guanajuato, Mexico. She majored in painting and printmaking with special emphasis in lithography. She studied classical Japanese printmaking and Ukiyoe color print techniques with the esteemed woodblock print artist, painter and fine art professor, Ansei Uchima. Her most recent prints are linocuts, monotypes, and she gives workshops in these media. She has held professional positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont and was also an Art Instructor for Chicago Public Schools. Catherine has had over fourteen one-woman shows and her work has been exhibited in many shows throughout the United States, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
“My images are of personal topics and observations, developed through series and recurring themes. Working in different media allows ideas and themes to take on many different forms of expression. My concerns are with color and movement. I hope to stimulate the eye and create the illusion of depth and dimension through the use of color, line and transparencies, while keeping the work open to the viewer’s interpretation. My art, realistic and abstract, is often influenced by people, places and experiences - past and present. Painting, prints and murals are my preferred media.”

Professor Wadsworth Aikens Jarrell was born in Albany, Georgia and earned degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago, Ray Vogue School of Art and Howard University. He has exhibited throughout the United States, in Germany, Africa, Italy, Holland, Sweden, France and elsewhere, and is certainly one of the most influential African American artists in America. One of the founding members of AfriCobra, Jarrell produced many powerful works related to the African American struggle for social justice. Typically, he uses brilliant color and strong design patterns in works with stunning, surrealistic qualities. A successful artist for over fifty years, Jarrell’s work continues to challenge and stimulate the imagination of the viewers. His portrait of Malcolm X, “The Prince”, is just as powerful and beautiful today as it was when it was created in 1993.
 
Jack Simmerling – Renowned concert pianist, David Schrader, described Simmerling as a World Class Artist. “Watercolor is the hardest medium to master, and Jack has mastered it. He has a wonderful ability to capture detail with very few strokes. His way of bringing an old stone wall to life is really astounding,” Schrader said.

Simmerling’s talent was first acclaimed when he was a high school student, by the Chicago Tribune with a full-page article highlighting his unique perspective of Chicago architecture. This recognition was the first among many to follow the artist’s work. His original art work and lithographs have been featured in one-man shows throughout the United States. Simmerling’s artistic training includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he received the prestigious Emil Jacques Gold Medal for outstanding artistic achievement. He also studied Art History at the University of Chicago. Simmerling and his wife, Margie, reside in a restored Victorian mansion where they raised their six children, and now share it with their assortment of pets.

Simmerling is a true Renaissance man who brings a certain sensitivity and an almost quixotic perspective to his subject matter. In his native Chicago, he sees the dynamic skyline and historic landmarks in a unique and often breathtaking way. His fans are legion, both visitors and residents, as he captures in pen or watercolor scenes that everybody loves. Watercolor Magazine called him, “Chicago’s Storyteller”. A Victorian at heart, Simmerling has a passion for all things from the turn-of-the-century. This began as a child, when his grandfather introduced him to the great mansions on Prairie Avenue as they were, sadly, being demolished. As a teenager, Simmerling took summer jobs with demolition crews, with the intent of savings priceless Tiffany glass and hand-carved artifacts from homes built by legends such as Marshall Field and Cyrus Hall McCormick. With these artifacts, he has established a private museum, which is regularly toured by groups such as the Art Institute of Chicago and many others who share his interest in historic Chicago. The Simmerling palette is not limited to Chicago, although his influence on this city’s art and appreciation for historic architecture is profound. Beyond Chicago, Simmerling has also depicted the natural beauty of the countryside, from his weekend travels in rural Indiana, to the vast landscapes of Ireland and England, where he often spends his summers painting and teaching.   

Jack Simmerling has been the recipient of extensive professional and academic awards, including an honorary doctorate from Saint Xavier University, the Lauck Award in Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame, Honorary Alumnus of Bradley University and others. He has also written or co-authored a collection of books on historic topics, including his beloved Prairie Avenue area mansions.

Rald Institute is honored to include Jack Simmerling’s works in our 2008 art sale, and very grateful for his support. 

Gerald Williams – Renowned artist, Gerald Williams, has devoted all of his adult life to teaching art and helping promote goodwill as an American in the United States and abroad. Born in Chicago, he earned a Masters in Fine Arts at Howard University, served in the United States Air Force, was a Peace Corp Volunteer for several years, taught in public schools in Chicago and Washington, D.C. and served as Arts and Crafts Director for the United States Air Force for twenty years until his retirement in 2004.  

Gerald’s love for his African American people is touching, and is exemplified in magnificent works characteristic of AfriCobra techniques and themes, and powerful, bold spiritual messages meant to inspire, encourage and sustain the Black man. His artwork has been reviewed and referenced in newspapers, magazines, journals and books since the late 1960’s. He has had solo and group exhibitions beginning in the late 1960’s including, but not limited to, the South Side Community Art Center, Chicago State University, WJ Studio and Gallery, Allan Frumkin Gallery, Langston Hughes Center for Visual and Performing Arts, University of Massachusetts, Howard University, Northern Illinois University, FESTAC 77, French Cultural Center in Kenya, Miami University, Port Au Prince, Haiti, United Nations Secretariat, U.S. Navy Department, Winton Salem State University, Songtan South Korea, Sumter County Gallery of Art in South Carolina, and many others.

Rald Institute thanks the artist for his contributions to America and for his kind support of our fund raising efforts.

Dwayne Wriddley is a native of Chicago who started drawing as a child growing up in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The multitalented Wriddley is a student of Illustration and Photography at the Illinois Institute of Art, and is head of his company called, Visual Gumbo, a name indicative of Wriddley’s talents in art, photography, acting, modeling and writing. Wriddley teaches art at several community organizations and has donated some of his work to help Rald Institute. The Board of Directors and Founder thank Mr. Wriddley for his acrylic painting entitled, Love, Peace and Harmony, and wish this young artist life’s very best.
 

Howard R. Mallory (1930 -) – Howard Raymond Mallory, a renowned ceramist born March 11, 1930, lost his eyesight during the 1990’s, forcing him to give up a successful forty-plus year career in Ceramics. However, he then turned to designing breathtaking, remarkable sculpture using found objects and objects from nature. In an interview in September 2008, Mallory stated, “I’m working with found materials now. My hands are my eyes. I don’t need the vision. I sometimes have to ask someone about colors. I work from kinesthetic memory and concepts. It’s second nature to me.”

Howard Mallory studied art and music at DuSable High School in Chicago. He studied architecture and interior design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Art Institute of Chicago. He became interested in sculpture and ceramics and continued his studies in ceramics. Over the years, he worked with and shared gallery spaces with several artists, including Josea Williams, Calvin Jones and Napoleon Henderson Jones. Mallory exhibited ceramics in Chicago and other cities in the United States for forty years. “Since I lost my sight, my closest artist colleagues have been Lester Lashley and Barbara Jones. Artist, Elaine Amina Boyd, has assisted me in recent years, too and I am very appreciative of all of them,” he said.

A former member of the AfriCobra Collective, Howard Mallory stated that he is inspired by children. “Children are the most creative creatures. They inspire me by the way they think. I’m inspired by God and I believe the universe is part of my art, and that there is a balance of giving and taking back. That is why I display some of my work outside and allowed it to be weathered. My friends and family inspire me. I have a studio, which I call Temple of Ancestral Spirits. That is where I work on sculpture, in memory of my departed friends and important ancestors. I am working on a piece in memory of Murry DePillars now. My artist friend Josea Williams calls regularly, all the way from Virginia, to encourage me. Jesus Christ is my Spiritual Leader and AfriCobra has been a very important influence on my art. Lester Lashley was responsible for helping me realize that I could and should keep working, though legally blind. Lester continually motivates me and if it weren’t for him, I might have given up.” 

Howard Mallory is currently working on a public outdoor mural installation with amazing sculptures of various heroes and heroines in African American History. The installation is in an alley. “Children and teenagers look at it, learn from it, respect it and protect it. They have never tried to touch it or destroy it,” Mallory said. Howard lives in Chicago with his wife, Lessie and son, Katara. “My wife is a serious Christian. We will celebrate fifty years of marriage this year. Though, I became legally blind in 1992, our home is filled with activity and love.” In addition to the United States,Howard Mallory has exhibited his workin Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.

Rald Institute salutes Howard Mallory for outstanding art, role modeling for children and educators and assistance for our beneficiaries.

Barry Bruner
, a native of Chicago and graduate of the American Academy of Art and Chicago Teachers College, taught art for thirty years and was Director of Art at Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago for many years. After his retirement from Whitney Young, he mentored hundreds of student teachers and others. His work is in public and private collections in the United States and abroad. He is also a musician and plays bass guitar. 

His artist statement quotes: “I love to do my art on the spot and especially outside in the air, like Toulouse Lautrec. The thrill is the movement of the drawing and painting at the moment. I studied under Irving Shapiro, who taught me to work this way. He taught most of the good watercolor painters in Chicago. Because of my love for outdoor drawing and painting, I worked with the Chicago Murals Group for over ten years, too.”

Bruner has worked with several organizations devoted to children. He has assisted Rald Institute by donating many beautiful works of art. The Founder, Board of Directors and beneficiaries are so grateful for his generosity and support and thank him for exceptional contributions to us and for lifetime devotion to the arts. We salute Mr. Barry Bruner.
 

Joseph (Jose) Williams, a prolific textile artist and designer, with expertise in screen printing, textile printing and the development/coordination of textile screen printing production, earned his Master of Science degree in Visual Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago, and his B.A. in Printmaking from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also studied at the American Academy of Art and the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago.

Jose taught art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Southeast Community College and Dante School in Chicago and was Director of the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago for four years before becoming a Textile Screen Printing Specialist for the United Nations International Labor Office, Government of the Netherlands Antilles, and Turks and Caicos Islands for ten years. He was responsible for the development of crafts for the government of each island and prepared and implemented training programs in technical and design skills of textile screen-printing productions for workers, instructors and counterpart personnel. Williams served as Executive Director of Arts on the Square 6th Street Marketplace in Richmond, Virginia, and continues to teach and lecture on screen-printing in colleges in the United States.

Williams has been featured in Essence Magazine, Afro-American Artist, a bio bibliographical directory, Chicago Daily Defender, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Black Books Bulletin, Tuesday at Home, Cinema Arts Festival, Sheboygan Press, Chicago Magazine, Freedom Unlimited, The Art Gallery Magazine and others. Some of Jose Williams’ exhibitions include Atlanta University; 57th Street Art Exhibit and South Side Community Art Center in Chicago; Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois; Governors State University in Park Forest, Illinois; The Gables of Erin Shades, Arts on the Square and the Last Stop Gallery in Richmond, Virginia; Parrish Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Norfolk State University in Virginia and many others.

Jose Williams’ work is in public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. He continues to inspire artists and assist institutions. He lives with his wife, Mildred in the Richmond, Virginia area. 

Rald Institute, its Board of Directors and beneficiaries are honored to have Jose Williams’ support and participation in our auction/sale.
 

Toni Costonie is an artist, interior designer, curator, archivist, historian, activist and author who majored in Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed certifications at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Historical Society; Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago, and other institutions. She is the daughter of the late Prophet, Faith Healer and Civil Rights Leader, Native American, Kiowa Costonie. Toni grew up assisting him in his Faith Temple Religious Goods Store on the south side of Chicago and helped with his evangelical mission, traveling with him all over the United States. Her unique art works and artifacts often reflect Afro-centric/Native American and other sacred themes, and are in private collections and available in stores in the United States.

Toni Costonie was Archivist/Curator of the Dr. Marjorie Stewart Joyner Traveling Collection, Chicago, Illinois, from 1980 to 1990. She was Archivist and Exhibit Curator of the DuSable Museum of African-American Art and History in Chicago from 1985 to 1990. Costonie was the interior designer who created unique theme stores, including a Jazz McDonalds and a Sports McDonalds in downtown Chicago, and she also worked as archivist for entrepreneur/affirmative action maverick Paul King. She created and was curator of exhibitions at the Vivian Harsh Collection at the Carter G. Woodson Library and other Chicago Public Libraries. She also served as Field Researcher for the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and worked on materials and research for exhibitions installed at the Lorraine Motel, the site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

Costonie was Director/Curator of the Graystone International Jazz Museum in Detroit, Michigan and Curator/Archivist/Researcher for the Ernest C. Withers Collection in Memphis, Tennessee, which documented African-American life in Memphis and the South, beginning in the 1940’s. Her work led to several exhibitions and books documenting Emmett Till and the last days of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On February 8, 2007, the Illinois House of Representatives, with concurrence by the Senate, passed House Joint Resolution Number Fourteen, which established the Commission to Study the Transatlantic Slave Trade. With the approval of the General Assembly and Governor Rod Blagojevich, Commissioners were appointed such as Mattie Hunter, Iva Carruthers, Anderson Thompson, Senator Donne E. Trotter, Dr. Conrad Worrill, and others…Toni Costonie worked on this project.

“I was inspired by the research I did while working for the Illinois Transatlantic Slave Trade Research Commission and at DuSable Museum of African-American Art and History. After I left the Slave Trade project, and headed off to my next assignment, I was haunted by the need to correct the historical record,” Costonie wrote. As a result, she wrote and edited her recent and important book: African American Slavery, Indenture & Resistance in Illinois, 1720 to 1864, an important historical work with contributions by Stanley Young, Zada Johnson, Alice B. Hammond, and photography of the late, award-winning photojournalist, William H. Wallace (Onikwa).

The Rald Institute Board of Directors and beneficiaries thank Toni Costonie for her art donation and for some of the photography and other support for our art web pages.
 

Annie Frances Lee, one of America’s most popular African American artists, was born in Gadsden, Alabama, and raised and educated in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Wendell Phillips High School and was drawing and painting in elementary school. She earned a Bachelors degree from Mundelein College and earned her M.A. in art from Loyola University in Chicago.

Lee’s contemporary, often humorous works depict common life in the African American community. She developed figurines, which have become collectors’ items and are sold all over the United States and abroad. Many of her works were featured on television shows, which increased her popularity during the 1980’s. 

Rald Institute is happy to present her print, “The Way We Sway”, a spirited rendition of our love of dancing.
  

Sharon Williams Adams (a.k.a. Sharue), a native of Chicago, earned her Bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she majored in Art Education. She earned a Masters degree from Cambridge College in Massachusetts. She studied with Margaret Burroughs as a high school student at DuSable High School, and was a successful and sought after jeweler for many years beginning in her teens.

“Dr. Margaret Burroughs was an artistic inspiration to me in high school, but Dr. Murry DePillars was my greatest influence,” Sharon Williams said. “He encouraged me to attend the University of Illinois to study painting and photography and assisted me with the process. He insisted that my work would be recognized and valued there, and he was right.”

Williams Adams exhibited her jewelry in the Chicago area and it is in private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Her rare, avant-garde paintings are in private collections and were purchased by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Beacon House in Chicago. She ended her career as an artist to devote herself full time to teaching children with special needs. She taught in Chicago Public Schools and relocated to the Atlanta, Georgia area in the early 1990’s and continued teaching children with disabilities until her retirement in 2008.  

Sharon Williams Adams has supported the work of Rald Institute for many years and has served children with special needs in an exemplary fashion throughout her lifetime. In a recent interview, when questioned about her decision to devote all of her time to teaching emotionally challenged children despite her skill and success as an artist/jeweler, she stated, “It was a conscious decision I made after careful consideration. I could not be a part-time artist. Working with the population of children I serve required full-time service and all of my energy. I was happy and it was an honor to do it.”  Rald Institute salutes Sharon Williams Adams, one of America’s most valuable educators whose rare works of art are equally valuable.   

Sherman Beck has studied art all of his life. “I attended Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago during the years when school pride was common. The late, great, Garrett Whyte was our teacher back then. He motivated many students who became successful artists. I attended classes with serious, notable artists like, Omar Lama, Kush Bey, Seitu Nurullah, and others. Our predecessors were artists such as Jose Williams and Edward Strong. The environment was fertile and the school produced an exceptional number of people like Bernard Shaw, Haki Madhubuti and others,” Beck stated in a recent interview.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Beck did further studies at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He worked as a commercial artist, and apprenticed at advertising agencies in display, sign and filmstrip, and he also worked as a free-lance illustrator. He returned to his alma mater, Dunbar High School, and worked for twenty-two years, the longest term of a commercial art teacher there. “Teaching was a big part of my life,” he said, “but the system was layered with bureaucracy that decreased productivity. I am happy to be retired now.”

Beck’s works have been exhibited in various individual and group shows, such as the Studio Museum in New York, the Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum, E.T.A. Theater, the University of Illinois and various galleries. For several years, he owned and operated Art Directions, an art supply store in Chicago.

Artist’s Statement: “ I have studied various schools of painting and admire the passion in Van Gogh’s work. I like Monet, Dali, and especially like Victor Vasarely’s optical illusion. I was influenced by AfriCobra’s philosophy of making aesthetic contributions to the Black community and addressing the needs of the community by making affordable reproductions. The late Jeff Donaldson coined the phrase, “Kool-Aid Colors”, a principle that sparked the interest of all kinds of people. The AfriCobra artists were tops when it came to scholarship. The late Murry DePillars made great scholastic contributions. Most of them were college professors and I was happy when invited to work with them. My work is abstract with figuration in it. I try to present identifiable figures, which lead into the abstract. I’m still exploring aspects of handling paint. The challenge now is to continue to enliven the spirit. Artists are no longer the agents that shape how people think. With so much photography and computer technology, we are forced to think differently. I know that my purpose is different from that of Da Vinci and Michelangelo.”

Kisasi Ramsess, a native of Los Angeles, has earned national acclaim as an artist whose stunning pen and ink, mosaics, stained glass, paintings, silk screened calendars, and note cards depict people of historical significance, especially those in the arts. A community-based artist, Ramsess has earned the respect of the Los Angeles and wider community through decades of benevolent acts, including distribution of free art calendars for students. His artistic legacy began in his Leimert Park studio/gallery and was built upon a personal belief that public and community art is both an educational and political tool which expands and enhances school curricula. “I like to do images of accomplished persons to further facilitate learning,” Ramsess stated in an interview in January, 2009. “Paul Robeson is an example of an accomplished, highly developed character whose image and life is of historical significance. Learning about Robeson was one of the highlights of my professional life. It motivated me to write stories to go with my art images,” he said. Ramsess has conducted hundreds of workshops for students at more than 100 campuses in the United States.

Educated in Los Angeles schools and at Los Angeles City College, his greatest study was with political cartoonists such as Pete Bentovoja. “I learned to dissect images, absorb, draw out ideas and ask questions while apprenticing,” he said. “I learned the importance of unlimited imagination,” he continued. Ramsess’ works embody this boundless imagination in the use of color and form in portraits of Dianne Reeves, Sarah Vaughan and Steve Turre. His haunting pen and ink portraits of jazz giants Rahsaan Roland Kirk, George Gershwin, Chick Webb and others are equally imaginative.

Ramsess is certainly an important and gifted twenty-first century artist whose colleagues, artists Alicia Griffin, Pete Bentovoja, and others describe his work and his personality as “phenomenal” and “terrific”. “I’ve been in his presence a lot over the years,” stated Griffin. “He is very consistent and never digresses from being honest, truthful, and creative. He consistently helps people that he encounters, too.”

Ramsess excels in his role as an artist of and for the people. Among his collectors are famous entertainers. Among his beneficiaries are hundreds of children, students, and scholars. Rald Institute thanks Ramsess for his art donation and for on-going artistic scholarship.

Barbara Jones-Hogu was born in Chicago. She received a BA from Howard University, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MS, with a concentration in printmaking, from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Jones-Hogu is an influential artist associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a member of OBAC (Organization of Black American Culture), she was one of the muralists who created the important "Wall of Respect" in 1967 on the south side of Chicago, a public work that inspired the creation of socially, politically and culturally themed murals across the urban American landscape. In 1968, Jones-Hogu became a founding member of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AFRICOBRA). As a member of AFRICOBRA, she participated in formulating the group’s mission statement that stressed Black independence and artistic self-determination. Her famed screen prints created during her participation in the group were exhibited widely at venues including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Howard University, Cornell University in New York, and the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. Several books and catalogues over the years have included her work and she is featured in Creating Their Own Image: The History of African American Women Artists, the most important text on the subject, published in 2005. "Unite", perhaps her most well known screen printed image is included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In recent years, several scholars in the fields of art history and Afro-American studies have noted her achievements in lectures and critical essays. Jones-Hogu lives near Chicago, and continues to make art, teach and make documentary films.Courtesy of Lusenhop Fine Art, Chicago

Artist’s Statement: In an interview with Beverly Ross Normand in February, 2009, Barbara Jones-Hogu stated, "Elizabeth Catlett influenced me and inspired me to create the image in the "Unite" silk screen print. In 1968 I was in Mexico, primarily to see the Mexican murals, and I visited Catlett. She was working on a sculpture with an arm up similar to the athletes who took this posture in the Olympics in Mexico that year. I wanted to create an image, too, to speak about the need for unity for my people. So I was inspired and impressed to create "Unite". Mexican muralists, Charles White, the German Expressions, and many Black artists have influenced me. I am studying videography/filmmaking and I realized that I really did not know that much about the camera, so I started to take photography classes. My instructor, Don Louba, laughs at me when I say that I am not a photographer because he thinks that I am. To the young and new artists, I say, continue producing and creating your art imagery to validate yourself."

Rald Institute salutes professor Barbara Jones-Hogu in honor of Black History Month, 2009. We salute her for helping artists, students, and art organizations throughout her lifetime, and for taking time to help our institute.

We thank David Lusenhop for contributing to this article and assisting Rald Institute with our fundraising efforts!

Mitchell Caton (1930-1998), born Theodore Burns Mitchell in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was an extremely gifted artist who grew up on the south side of Chicago and was a popular muralist whose public murals include many in Chicago, such as the one on the Regal Theater and the Wall of Respect, as well as many other murals in America. Mitchell conformed to his own personal philosophy, which involved discipline and scholarship. He was highly respected by Chicago artists and was reportedly merciless in his critique of them and their works, motivating them to work harder and improve in technique and skills. The late photojournalist Onikwa Bill Wallace once said, "Caton would talk about us like dogs, tearing our work or activities apart to reveal all of our failures. But he was a genius and he was always so right that we just put up with it. He made us try to do better and we all admired and loved him for it." Caton earned an art scholarship at the University of Little Rock and later attended the School of the Art Institute and studied at the Art Students League in New York. He was commissioned to do various art work and murals around the country, as well as in Chicago. He did extensive independent study, frequently traveling to Europe.

Mitchell Caton was married to the late Betty Bradford and they settled in the Hyde Park community of Chicago in 1955 with their two children. Many great artists visited and learned from him in his townhouse in Hyde Park until his death.

"I met Caton in the mid 1980’s through our close, mutual friend, the late Charles L. Whitman," Beverly Normand wrote in 2009. "At that time, I functioned as Cultural Chairperson for a public school and spoke to Caton about the possibilities of doing a mural there. He was quite receptive to the idea and was willing to do it for practically nothing, just to enrich the children. However, the school missed the opportunity because of limited vision and experience, a condition many Americans suffer from. In some ways, we are all guilty of devaluing the arts. That is why art education must be strengthened and made a priority. The famous philosopher, Maxine Greene, of Columbia University in New York has expressed this need so eloquently in her writings for the past forty years, but we remain complacent, even cognitively delayed in imagination."

With the exception of his public murals, most of Mitchell Caton’s valuable works have not been seen by the public. Chicago artist Calvin Jones recently stated, "If you have one of Mitchell Caton’s works, you are very, very lucky."

Joanne Scott was born into a prominent, scholarly African American family in Chicago and was raised in the Park Manor/Chatham community. "She excelled in academics and the arts as early as elementary school and was popular, insightful, sensitive, caring and extremely friendly as a child," professor Beverly Ross Normand, Scott’s classmate at Ruggles Elementary School, recently recalled. "We attended different high schools, and she became a protégé of Chicago’s leading artists and arts organization very early. She made considerable contributions working and volunteering in the Hyde Park community and all over Chicago. For over four decades, I have observed her tirelessly helping individuals, even strangers, learn about art. She was always smiling , energetic and extremely thorough. It is not surprising that she became a powerful catalyst in the lives of so many college students, artists and educators and earned the respect of the arts community quite early."

Receiving her B.A. in Fine Art from Howard University, she became a full-time artist at a young age and worked in galleries, showing dedication to quality and passion for her work and the work of others. Simultaneously, she helped anyone with an interest in art. Scott obtained her Masters in Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and has been a Professor of Painting and Drawing for over twenty years. She has exhibited extensively in the United States in exhibitions at colleges, art museums, galleries and has studied in Europe and Africa, also. She has received many awards, including the Cultural Arts Awards Administration, Office of Fine Arts, and City of Chicago grants and awards.

Joanne Scott is a founding member of Sapphire and Crystals, a women’s art coalition, and her work has appeared in numerous art venues. She has served on art organizations and is considered by some of her students as their "most influential, motivating teacher." Her beautiful, contemporary paintings, drawings and photographs often depict her pride and interest in her African American heritage.

Sura Dupart was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Adam and Maudwina Mason Dupart, who migrated from New Orleans, Louisiana. "My father was an artist who made wooden toys. This was probably my first influence. At the elementary school that I attended, we were required to do soap sculpturing in third grade and I enjoyed doing it. I attended Dunbar High School in Chicago and met the artist Omar Lama there. I believe he was my greatest influence. He motivated me to do my first painting," Dupart said.

Dupart studied cabinet-making while in high school. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in art from Chicago State University and his Masters degree in art from Govenors State University in Illinois. He is not especially impressed with obtaining degrees, but feels that studying with master artists is quite helpful. He was motivated by the work of artist Jessie Richardson. He studied wood sculpturing with Atu (Harold Murray) for years and felt it was of great benefit, and studied with other great artists such as Jamaican born sculptor Harry Dietrich, who Dupart worked with for about fifteen years. "I have worked with sculptor Roman Villarrel for many years now, and have learned a great deal about stone carving. Villarrel and I share a studio gallery building in Hammond, Indiana. Working with him has been an important part of my development over the past ten years," Sura Dupart said.

A percussionist, too, Sura Dupart has studied and played music since 1963. He played with the group Sun Drummers for many years and has been with the AACM Big Band and a group called E.S.P., also. Dupart formed the group Side Pocket a few years ago and has recorded with them, also. Among his awards is First Place in
Sculpturing
from the DuSable Museum of African American History, an award from the Alyo and Muntu Dance Theaters, the 2009 awards from Adami, WPSLA, the AACM, and Sun Drummers. He recently received an award in Sculpturing from the City of Hammond, Indiana, also. He is currently exhibiting at the Silver Room Gallery in Chicago, was presented by E.T.A. Creative Arts Gallery in their "In the Spirit of Art" exhibit in 2008, and on exhibit at the South Shore Cultural Center, to name a few. Sura Dupart lives in Chicago with his wife, Herbalist/Artist Omiyalle Dupart.

Rald Institute and its Board of Directors are honored and thankful for the participation of Sura Dupart in our 2009 Art Sale/Auction.

Eric Werner, one of Chicago’s most gifted photographers, was selected to be included in the Black Metropolitan Research Consortium in 2008 and he is quite pleased. "I’m excited to have been chosen. BMRC is currently preparing to archive my work," he said in a recent interview while relaxing in his south side home filled with his own photographic treasures and stunning sculpture that he has made or collected over the years. An exhibit of his magnificent photographs of dancers was featured at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for Black History Month, 2009, and due to public demand, was extended.

Werner studied at The Community Film Workshop in Chicago from 1970 to 1973 after returning from Vietnam. He earned his Bachelors degree from Governors State University and also worked on his Masters degree there. From 1971 to 1977, he worked for Art Color Photographers, and then became Director of Centric Media Productions. He then worked as Staff Photographer for the Andrew Corporation. In 1984, he launched his career as a freelance photographer servicing corporate, private and nonprofit clients. His work has been published in many books, newspapers and magazines and his clients include high-profile companies and organizations such as Coca-Cola USA, Citibank, Proctor & Gamble, Quaker Oats, United Way and Coors. His work is in the private collections of individuals such as Michael Jordan, the late Gwendolyn Brooks, and many other famous people.

Werner has been honored with various and numerous awards in photography contests, art and film festivals. In 1990, he began volunteering for the Chicago Park District, and founded the Picture This Camera Club to teach students the technical aspects of photography as an art form. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Cultural Center Community Grants Board and on Jazz Unites Board. Most recently, he has assisted Rald Institute with in-kind services for which its Board of Directors and Beneficiaries are most honored and appreciative.

Eric is happily married to the lovely Andrea Goens Werner.

Lauren Deutsch - A lifelong resident of Chicago, Ms. Deutsch began a career in photography in 1978, as a documentarian of the CETA funded Artists-in-Residence Program. She worked in photography and graphic design throughout the 70s and 80s, and began an association with the Jazz Institute of Chicago as a member of the Board of Directors in 1980. As a board member, she helped produce and promote concerts, program the Chicago Jazz Festival, develop a high school jazz curriculum and negotiate a home at the University of Chicago for the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s archives.

In the 80s, as a co-owner of Salsedo Press, a worker-owned printing company, Ms. Deutsch developed sales strategies, helped to refine customer service procedures, worked in various production areas and actively participated in the early coop labor movement in Chicago.

Ms. Deutsch’s tenure as Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago began in 1996. Her background in community organization and the arts provided the impetus to develop programs in collaboration with a variety of small and large institutions, including the ten-year old JazzCity program, a collaboration with the Chicago Park District, which provides access to high caliber jazz performances to communities all over Chicago, the Jazz Links teacher-partnership that provides in-school residencies and after school opportunities for students to perform with and learn from jazz veterans, and in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs, the conception and programming of Millennium Park’s Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz concert series. In 2006, she partnered with a cultural arts organization in Poznan, Poland to program and present a 6-concert, Made in Chicago festival and was commissioned to create and exhibit her music-inspired artwork.

Throughout the 80s to the present, she has continued to create, publish and exhibit photographic work-mounting exhibitions throughout the U.S. and publishing here and in Europe and Asia. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, in Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan, Poland, Moscow, New York and several smaller venues in Chicago. She was nominated in 2001 by the Jazz Journalists Association for an award in ‘Excellence in Photography’ and was named Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune in 2003.

Rald Institute wants to thank Lauren Deutsch for her donations and support and salute her in honor of Women's Month, March, 2009!

Stacey Brown, currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an eclectic collection of original paintings for the contemporary art lover. Born and reared in Murfeesboro, North Carolina, his artistic journey of discovery began with aspirations for a career in graphic design. After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, he embarked on a successful ten year career in his chosen field, but something was "missing" in his life. That something "missing" drew him to his paint brush, and he decided to pursue his true love, Fine Art.

His passion for the arts has led him to a successful career as a full-time artist, expressing himself through acrylic paintings on glass, and watercolor on paper. He remains visually aware of his surroundings by incorporating colors that correspond with current contemporary trends, as well as remaining in tune with his roots with traditional landscapes, and urban neighborhood scenes that exude keen observations of everyday life.

Stacey’s paintings have graced the walls of the mansion on the hit reality show BET College Hill, the Atlanta Street of Dreams Home Tour, and the 2008 Tom Joyner Fantastic Cruise. Just recently, he was commissioned by Verizon Wireless to create an original painting entitled, "Crowns of Praise" for the How Sweet the Sound 11-city national gospel tour (www.howsweetthesound.com). His painting will represent the Atlanta market. Discriminating art lovers throughout the country and abroad collect his eclectic and contemporary creations, which has led him to emerge as a visionary artistic talent for the 21st century.

Rald Institute is happy to have the participation of Stacey Brown in our 2009 Art Exhibition. Mr. Brown is supportive of organizations committed to children, the disadvantaged, and the arts. He supports organizations that have provided free services and he believes in volunteering.

In a recent interview in March, 2009, Stacey Brown stated that his brother, the late Michael Brown, was his greatest artistic influence. "I was also greatly influenced by the works of Romare Bearden and Jackson Pollock," he said.

John H. Blanton was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Chicago. "I was given my first camera for Christmas when I was seven years old and have been taking pictures ever since," he said. "Gordon Parks was my first inspiration. I learned a lot from Roy Lewis, and Bobby Sengstacke, too," he said. Blanton studied film and video in Chicago at Columbia College and learned photography as a darkroom technician while working for the United States Military in Verona, Italy. He retired from the Chicago Park District and has done freelance photography for television stations. Many of his works were published in newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, and Muhammad Speaks, and he continues to work.

Rald Institute is especially privileged to have had Blanton’s assistance. We are grateful for his generosity and proud to display his beautiful photographs.

Bayyinah Amina - Born Elaine Boyd, Bayyinah Amina was the only daughter of the late William and Eddie Mae Boyd, who first lived in the Ida B. Wells housing project in Chicago. William was a steel worker who eventually owned Boyd's Lounge and Liquors on 47th at Lake Park. Eddie Mae was an artist and housewife, who learned how to paint by numbers in oils, but was also involved in other craft mediums. It was Bayyinah's mother, and her God-Mother, Anna Smith, a Chicago Public School teacher, who influenced and encouraged Bayyinah's early drawings and provided supplemental instruction. "In those day, I attended Holy Angels School, which did not provide art classes," Bayyinah said. She attended Saint Dorothy, Loretta Academy, and Hirsch High School, where she received more exposure to fine arts. Bayyinah traveled and painted in Southern California for a year after high school. After returning to Chicago, she enrolled in the Art Institute's evening school while working at the Main Post Office in Chicago's Loop area. She married and had two children before completing her B.A. in Art Education at Roosevelt University in 1971. "I changed my name twice," she said. "First to Amina, after marrying a Muslim, then to Bayyinah, after gaining a clearer understanding of Islam and making Hajj (Pilgrimage)."

In a recent interview, when asked about those who influenced her most, Bayinnah stated, "I was most impressed by the work of Charles White, because he had a captivating command of anatomy. The figures within his compositions dominate and exude quiet strength. His figures project a feeling of being three-dimensional. Paul Gauguin's use of rich color was so fascinating, revolutionary, and gave us a glimpse of a tranquil way of life, while painting tropical landscape. Francisco Goya, on the other hand provided a different genre and purpose. Goya felt the need to depict social upheaval quickly; he was the recorder of history. Among the contemporary artists that I studied with, Jesse Richardson's influence and teachings benefited me immensely. I studied the art of gilding fruit, furniture and frames and learned how to paint by painting reproductions of various impressionist artists. Sculptor, Howard Mallory introduced me to Ceramics as a student at the South Side Hull House."

Bayyinah has worked in a variety of media, including fabric design, pen and ink, silk screen prints, ceramics, painting, photography and jewelry, and has done outstanding works. A Master Teacher, she taught art in Chicago Public Schools for 26 years before her recent retirement in 2007. One of her works featured in the 2009 Rald Art Sale is a Raku pottery design made in 2001 in Saugatuck, Michigan when she received the Ox Bow Scholarship to study vessel construction. She is currently working on recycled sculpture projects and Quranic calligraphy.

Artist's Statement: "The art curriculum should allow students more freedom to be creative. Since the current systems are so tailored for a specific response in the academic area, the fine arts should encourage students to think outside the box. Art is a vehicle to express and to awaken a certain consciousness. Sometimes the artist takes us someplace we don't want to go, and the work makes us uncomfortable because of our own subjective response to it; i.e., Graffiti. The young artists' success will be measured by how well they stay focused on their goals and diversify their work in other mediums."

Rald Institute and our beneficiaries thank Bayyinah Amina for donations, support, encouragement and mentoring, and for years of exemplary art instruction for Chicago's high school students.

Melvin King, a renowned African American artist, has exhibited all over the United States and internationally. His works are in the private collections of famous people such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and many others. Typically, his beautiful original paintings and prints depict scenes of African American life and history, but he also loves abstraction.

An intensely humble and spiritual man, King has made continuous contributions to the Chicago community, and has his own organization, Creative Artists Association, which assists artists of all ethnic and religious backgrounds with every aspect of creating and marketing their works. He teaches and organizes exhibitions at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago and is an active member of Apostolic Church of God, where he also teaches.

Rald Institute is grateful to Melvin King for making it possible to obtain one of his recent original abstraction paintings for our 2009 art sale.

Candace Hunter is a visual artist, lecturer, arts writer and performance artist. She served as the Arts & Culture Editor for the N'Digo Newspaper for years, was an arts correspondent for WTTW-Channel 11 Television in Chicago, arts correspondent for WBEZ Radio, is a sought-after arts auctioneer and often sits on panels for the city of Chicago and arts entities within the city. Her work has been collected nationally, including but not limited to, The Interfaith Center of Manhattan, Church of the Three Crosses, SonEdna Foundation, CBS Sunday Morning, Dan Parker, Julian Roberts, Arleane Crawford, Kai El'Zabar, and an endless list of other collectors.

During the past two years, her work has been highly successful in a two woman show at the Nicole Gallery, a solo show at ETA Creative Arts Foundation, group shows at the Flat Iron Building, The National Black Fine Art Show, the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival, "Women in the Course of Their Daily Lives" at the Grace Institute in New York City, and the Midsummer Arts Faire in Illinois where she won first place in the Young Collector's Gallery.

Her work is impacted by her fascination with family history, cathedrals, bridges, the eyes and hands of the Emperor of Ethiopia, and a deep love of race. "At present, I have completed thirteen collages, dating from the early 1800's through to the present generation. Ideally, there will be thirty collages chronicling my family and a race I so love," she wrote.

Candace Hunter studied Fine Arts at Barat and Mundelein Colleges, is based in Chicago's Hyde Park area, and has resided and studied in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Korea, and Brazil.

Rald Institute is thankful for an opportunity to feature her work and for a donation made from her recent collaborative work with Faye Edwards of Faie African Art in Bronzeville.

Arlene Turner-Crawford was a child of the 60's who was turned on by the Black Arts Movement. She is an image-maker who works in the media of drawing, painting, collage and graphic illustrations. Art connects in her life. The first connections were through her Nana, Norine Elizabeth White Dixon, her grandmother and mother to her first inspiration and mom, Ruth Dixon Turner. "My Nana was good friends with my art teacher at Sexton Elementary, Mae Banks. Ms. Banks felt I had promise, and arranged a meeting for me with Dr. Margaret Burroughs. I remember Dr. Burroughs was warm and engaging. She encouraged me to visualize myself as an artist." The next significant connection occurred at Harlan High. Her Studio Drawing class was where Murry DePillars completed his student teaching. "Murry DePillars engaged our class with technical and aesthetic information, ideas about the Black Arts Movement and information on the presence of African-American artists in art history."

Arlene majored in art at Northern Illinois University, where the image-maker was born. Mobilized student demonstrations on campus prompted NIU's School of Art to hire Nelson Stevens and Dr. Grace Hampton-Porter. Both, Grace and Nelson mentored the only two Black students in the art department at the time. Through Nelson Stevens, Arlene met many of the members of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCobra). "As an assignment in my Contemporary Black Art History course, Nelson arranged for me to interview Jeff Donaldson. Jeff was one of the architects of the Wall of Respect and a founder of the Organization of Black America Culture (OBAC). That interview was a dynamic experience for me. By the end of four hours, I had a confirmed passion to be a part of the Black Arts vanguard." Jeff Donaldson invited her to participate in the Conference of Functional Aspects of Black Art (CONFABA).  Because of this conference, Arlene developed relationships with many African American artists which thrive to this day.

As a student, Arlene joined the National Conference of Artists, Inc. NCA is the oldest national organization of African American visual artists, educators, historians, museum personnel, students and collectors. Arlene was the first African American to be confirmed with a Masters of Science in Art Education degree from Indiana University's Herron School of Art. While living in Indianapolis, her visual statements were seen on the first Indianapolis Black Expo Program Booklet and as part of the mural project, "Urban Walls". In 1982, as Vice President of the Chicago Chapter of NCA, Arlene chaired the planning committee for the 25th Anniversary Conference, which was held in Chicago in 1983. Arlene is currently an Executive Board member of the African American Arts Alliance; a founding member of the Sutherland Community Arts Initiative and Sapphire & Crystals, an African American women's artist collective. In addition to her creative efforts, she is a wife, mother, university administrator and friend.

"The African aesthetic is grounded in purpose; the African term for art is not separated from function. Within the Black Arts Movement, the image-makers functioned for cultural nationalism. Our art should help us define ourselves, identify our customs and values and direct us to higher consciousness."
- Arlene Turner-Crawford

Faith Davis combines the dexterity of a gifted crafter with a keen eye of a skilled graphics designer to create her distinctive jewelry. Her elegant sculptures have been recognized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, featured in sophisticated women's magazines, presented in fashion specialty stores and awarded in juried competitions.

Faith grew up in Chicago and her work, although decidedly abstract, has been influenced by the structural element of architecture found in this city. She first shapes sleek geometric forms, then enhances them with characteristics of texture and pattern reminiscent of ancient cultures. Faith majored in Metalsmithing/Design and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1978 from East Carolina University. During years past, she has built a successful production design studio, taught as adjunct professor and expanded her creative vision, which includes sculpture and fashion accessories. Her work has attained not only a recognizable style, but the level of consistency of a mature artist. The timeless, stark jewelry created by Faith bridges the gap between art and fashion.

"My jewelry creations are primarily a statement of modern art, where fashion works as the background to frame each piece." - Faith Davis

Traci Maniece of Springfield, Illinois is a graduate of Charles Steinmetz School and studied at Harold Washington and Lincoln Colleges, too. She worked as a photographer for Lincolnland Lamp Newspaper in Springfield, Illinois and studied jewelry design with Terri Ness. She studied music at Steinmetz School and plays piano, clarinet, and percussion. Versatile and caring, she combines her time in the arts and psychology, and has worked in schools.

"I love helping people, especially those with special needs," she recently said. "I love Pop art, African American and Latino art. Currently, I am working with glass and crystal jewelry and will return to photography work, too. My uncle, the late Earnest Stanton, and my cousin, Calvin Muhammad, inspired me to study photography. Designer, Terri Ness was my greatest inspiration in jewelry design." Traci is also inspired by her lovely daughter, Tamera, and her entire family.

Nii Oti, a native of Chicago, first gained notoriety in the early 1960's when his unique, African inspired, sculptured bone jewelry designs were in great demand among artists, art collectors and others. Nii Oti is a graduate of the University of Illinois and received a B.F.A./Industrial Design degree. His popularity spread in 1965 with the founding of his Zambezi Art Guild and galleries located on 63rd Street near Cottage Grove Avenue and on 71st Street in the South Shore area of Chicago. A catalyst in the Black Arts Movement, he influenced many artists nationwide and works in a variety of mediums including oil, watercolor, sculpture, acrylic and mixed media collage. He relocated his business to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970's and later accepted a Fine Arts teaching position at Presbyterian Women's College in Aburi, Ghana where he worked for years before returning to the United States.

He has done solo exhibits in various universities and galleries in the U.S.A., Africa and elsewhere, has been in numerous joint exhibits and won many awards and recognitions over the past four decades. For many years, his paintings were selected for the Official Artist's Posters for the African Festival of the Arts in Chicago, one of the largest African Art Exhibits in the United States.

Nii Oti is continually helping arts organizations and has added Rald Institute to his long list of beneficiaries and made it possible for Rald to obtain, "Musicians", a beautiful, tender, scene with four black musicians walkin in the snow.

Allen Stringfellow (1923-2004) was a nationally known artist raised by his grandmother in Champaign, Illinois. He studied art at the University of Illinois in Champaign and graduated from the Art Institute of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He moved to Chicago as a young man and taught at the South Side Community Arts Center. In 1960, he opened his own art gallery in Chicago's Old Town community. Much of his work depicts religious life and jazz scenes. He received numerous awards and his works are included in permanent collections including, but not limited to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Du Sable Museum of African American History.

Babatunde - Born Kenneth Graves, Babatunde is the son of the late, prominent entrepreneur Melvin J. Graves and Annabell Graves of Chicago. "My dad built a real estate empire and owned many, many stores inclulding barber shops, hardware stores, and liquor stores at various locations in Chicago. My dad was also a barber instructor. Naturally, my late brother Melvin Graves, Jr. and I followed suit and opened our own barber shop when we were young. My family was a tremendous and positive influence on me. Currently, I am collaborating with my brother, artist Paul Graves, on some projects," he said.

Babatunde combined his business background with his love of art, and after graduating from Governor's State University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1972, he began designing and marketing jewelry and sculpture and became a successful and popular jeweler, designer and import/export businessman with his own galleries and stores. He has traveled to Africa for thirty years, marketing to African shops. He designs all kinds of awards for individuals and institutions and has apprenticed various artists over the years. "I like the challenge of designing awards in the Afrocentric spirit and have done a lot of them," he said. "One of my most memorable awards was the one I designed for Stevie Wonder at the Second World Festival of African Arts in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. Recently, I designed Rights of Passage awards for Barbara Sizemore Academy, Betty Shabazz School, Muntu Dance Theater, and E.T.A. Creative Arts Foundation."

Babatunde has made awards for many famous people such as, the late James Baldwin and Henry English. When asked about his art influences, Babatunde said, "I was influenced by the National Conference of Artists (NCA), founded by Dr. Margaret Burroughs. We still have local chapters and conferences annually and I am active with them. Marvin Sin, leather designer, was a great influence and we have been business partners for over twenty-five years. I was influenced by the AfriCobra artists such as, the late Murry DePillars, Napoleon Henderson and Lester Lashley," he said.

Babatunde has received numerous awards such as the Kuumba Workshop Award, the Arts Organization of Chicaog Award, Lake Meadows Arts Award, African Festival of the Arts Award and others. His works are in Private collections in the United States and abroad. Babatunde lives in Chicago with his wife, designer Daimali Denise.

Kush Jhavilah, age 10, is a student in Rald Institute's Children's Art Workshop. He attends Murray Language Academy in Chicago and loves drawing, writing and swimming. He is studying art with Edward Strong, Eugene Mitchell, Gerald Sanders, and his Grandmother, Ruth Hopson. "I was led to draw by my art teachers, friends, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Annie Lee. I hope to become an artist one day," he said. Kush lives in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago with his mother, Virginia Hopson, and family.

Ramu Lunda, artist, percussionist, and fashion designer, was born in Akron, Ohio and attended Central State University. He relocated to Chicago in 1969 and studied with artists Mitchell Caton and Omar Lama. He studied percussion music with Famoudou Don Moye, members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and various members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

A student of ancient Egyptian history and philosophy for many years, Ramu Lunda's distinct, collectible works are influenced primarily by Nile Valley, Nubian, and Kemetic themes and symbolism, and his paintings, greeting cards, and fashions have been shown in individual and group exhibitions at DuSable Museum, Lake Meadows Art Exhibits, Gold Coast Art Exhibits, 57th Street Art Exhibit, and in institutions and stores in major cities in the U.S.A., South America, and Europe. In June, 2009, his work was featured in an exhibit at the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago. Ramu currently performs with Najwa Dance Theater and performed with the Muntu Dance Theater for many years.

Ramu Lunda wants to reach as many people as possible with his works. He made it possible for Rald Institute to obtain his painting, "The Cosmic City".

Artist's Statement: "Since the beginning of time, education has been the key to personal power and glory, and according to Tehuti, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, we all should be as learned and as productive as we possibly can, all the the day of our lives. There is no end to knowledge. It is as infinite as the heavens above."

Michael A. Lane, a collage painter and designer, works as production manager and graphic screen printer for a large sporting goods company in Summit, Illinois. He studied at Pacific Institute of Commercial Art in Los Angeles, California, and Printing Industries Institute of Illinois in Chicago. He utilizes his ability to create images with small pieces of paper in the manner in which most artists use the traditional form of painting. His work is unique in form and size. "My effort to bring images to life through assemblage has been fun and challenging," he said.

Michael has won awards in juried exhibitions and his works have been shown at Satori Fine Arts Gallery, South Shore Cultural Center, Hi-Line Gallery, Museum of Science and Industry, Harris Bank, Markman Gallery in Las Vegas, Nevada and many others. His work is in permanent and private collections. He recently designed Salt Pond Redevelopment Institute's logo, the soccer team in Ghana, West Africa. Michael believes drawing and painting should deliver a message, but also express joy and freedom.

Lane is a member of the Arts and Business Council in Chicago and he is a volunteer for Crusade of Mercy/United Way and Ameritech companies.

Jaaika Lindo designs jewelry geared toward healing and positive energy. Her exquisite creations are beautifully constructed, using a unique style of hand-wrapping gems in delicate, but strong copper and sterling silver crafted settings. She apprenticed with artist, Amun Miraaj, and has immersed herself in the study of gemstones and crystals in recent years. Her work has been featured at River Oaks Mall, Simba/Simsa Galas, The African Festival of the Arts, Rald Institute's 2009 Art Exhibition, and elsewhere.

Daveed Markham celebrated his eighth birthday in March, 2009. He has studied art at Rald Institute for several years. He won first place in an art competition at Mark Sheridan Math and Science Academy in Chicago in 2009.

"My favorite artist is Eddie Strong," he said. "I like him and I like his work. I like my other teacher, Gerald Sanders, and like his work, too. My art teacher at my school is Miss Clary."

Reproductions of Daveed Markham's beautiful painting, "Cherry Blossoms" are offered in Rald Institute's 2009 Art Exhibition.