FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts: Connie Jackson, 862-253-8454 or Precious Osagie-Erese, 973-419-3689
East Orange, NJ, Dec. 10, 2018: Mayor Ted R. Green, the East Orange City Council and the Arts Council of East Orange are pleased to present an exhibition featuring works from four local artists.
“Powerful Voices” opens Tuesday, December 11 from 6:30-8:00pm in the lower level of East Orange City Hall, 44 City Hall Plaza. It will be on display Monday through Friday between 8:30am-4:30pm until March 2019.
The opening exhibit will highlight the works of contemporary artists Kojo "Drift" Aidoo, Hans Lundy, Charles Caldwell and Onnie Strother, highlighting city-inspired pieces that explore unconventional painting techniques such as metaphorical realism and symbolic imagery. The colorful display is curated by the city’s Gallery Under the Stairs program that engages and showcases local artists.
About the Artists:
Kojo “Drift” Aidoo is a lifelong East Orange resident, father, rapper, actor and artist. Born to West African immigrant parents from Ghana, Kojo has been an artist/cartoonist since the tender age of 5 and was always an avid lover of music who began rapping at age 9. Kojo first gained nationwide notoriety in 2002 when he won multiple rap battles on BET’s popular show “106 & Park.” He later signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. and released a hit record in 2004 entitled “Don’t Call Me” and his debut album “Ribs is Touching” featuring Remy Ma and the legendary Smif N’ Wessun. After the birth of his son Kamal in 2007, Kojo took a hiatus from music and joined the 9-5 workforce. However, under the advice of his mother Joana, Kojo recently picked back up his paint and paint brush and began to once again share his art with the world. This past November, Kojo hosted his very first art exhibit where he sold every piece . . . And he’s just getting started.
Charles Caldwell expresses his unique views and voices his love and concern for his community through his art. Mixed media and strong abstract colorful line work are the trademark of his pieces, which are his thoughts on extraordinary abstract expressions of everyday thoughts. His latest series featured in this exhibition is titled "Perspective,“ revealing his thoughts on modern Americanism. He hopes this series inspires conversations and reflections on the American spirit throughout the world.
Caldwell’s art education began in Morristown where he was awarded a full scholarship through the Morristown Neighborhood House and later was accepted into the Newark School of Fine Arts where he graduated. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he majored in Art History. His works hang in public areas throughout Northern New Jersey and have been commissioned by major corporations. A personal and professional highlight for Caldwell was Prudential’s purchase of his “Through Thick and Thin,” which was bestowed upon Dr. Maya Angelou to commemorate her as a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest award given by the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP).
Hans Lundy was born in Haiti, Port Au Prince on October 25, 1992. His family came to the United States of America in 1999 where they have lived in East Orange, NJ for the last 10 years. Hans attended the Cicely L.Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts, where was trained and mentored by the post-modern figurative artist William Coronado. Coronado exposed Lundy to his ideas on using the human body as a vehicle for creative expression on an aesthetic, psychological, and philosophical format. Hans embraced these ideas and has added the aesthetics of surrealism to create an art that is his personal view of how he sees and understands the world and art.
He consistently creates innovative and “cutting-edge” imagery, which employs a radical postmodern style known as “Metaphorical Realism.” Mimetically and poetically, this realistic “visual-narrative” mode furnishes symbolic representational-imagery (mimesis). Hans’ career as an artist is just beginning, but his handling of paint and his knowledge of using painting as a mode of expression is far beyond his years. His paintings can be provocative, political, philosophical, psychological, and last but not least, enjoyable. It is the distinctive character of melancholy that makes Hans Lundy's paintings so impressionable.
Onnie Strother is a multimedia artist, teacher, lecturer and curator who was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the School of Visual Arts in New York and Masters Degrees in Art (printmaking) and Educational Administration and Supervision from Montclair State University. He has studied at the Broome Street Printmaking Studio, (New York, NY), the Fine Arts Work Center, (Providence, RI), the Printmaking Council, (NJ) and The Visual Art Center of NJ. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
Strother’s subject matter is derived from political and social issues, music, history and the media using a variety of materials and processes, including art work, photography, film, computer graphics, painting, printmaking, or whatever works! He often works in a series and one project leads to another. Constant discovery keep the artist interested and moving forward.