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Open Air: An Artist Conversation with Carla Aaron-Lopez & Dimeji Onafuwa

  • About This Program

    Open Air is a monthly series of virtual studio visits and intimate conversations with Black contemporary artists across the United States. Join the conversation with curator Dexter Wimberly as he interviews painters Carla Aaron-Lopez and Dimeji Onafuwa, both featured artists in the Gantt's current exhibition Visual Vanguard: An Exhibition of Black Carolina Artists. We will discuss how their style reflects their artistic journeys, how themes of Blackness are expressed in their work, and more.

    How To Participate

    This free virtual program will be streamed on the Gantt Center's official YouTube channel.

    Gantt Center's YouTube channel

    About Open Air

    Join us as we get a behind-the-scenes look at exciting new art as it's being created, while connecting particular works to some of the most pressing issues of our times. Historically, African-American artists have been compelled to make their own way within the art world, challenging traditional ideas of cultural representation and creating their own systems of merit, criticality and reward outside of the mainstream.

  • About The Artists

    Carla Aaron-Lopez is a photographer, printmaker, and collagist. Ever defying expectation, Aaron-Lopez has also expanded her practice to include murals and painting. She is a deeply committed collaborator whose own work is frequently created with fellow artists at various stages of career. Aaron-Lopez has pioneered platforms for underground artists and built spaces that encourage experimentation in both Atlanta and Charlotte.

    Aaron-Lopez received her BA in Graphic Design from North Carolina Central University and her Master of Fine Art in Photography and Master of Printmaking from Savannah College of Art & Design. In addition to creating artwork, she is a beloved arts educator within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Aaron-Lopez considers herself a “professional student of life” who believes we all have the ability to learn and create anything. She is also member of Black arts collective and event space BLKMRKT CLT.

    Dr. Dimeji Onafuwa (Dimeji) is a Nigerian born artist, designer, and researcher. Tilling passion from his African heart with American soil, he cultivates evocative and emotional scenes of assimilation. Dimeji uses color boldly and simply to create a luminous quality of melancholia, allowing the viewer a powerful sense of human-ness and a presence of the spiritual.

    He draws inspiration from Henri Matisse, Fauvism, the 1960s San Francisco Bay Area figurative artists, as well as concepts from the Yoruba language are drawn on and expressed. A few examples are ‘Ona,’ meaning embellishment of form; ‘Ara,’ creativity, ‘Era,’ improvisation and ‘Pipe,’ equaling completeness.

    Dr. Onafuwa has many talents, and painting is among them. He has been invited to speak at conferences, podcasts and to facilitate workshops globally on topics as varied as art, alternative economics, transition design, diversity and inclusion in design, the commons, allyship, and algorithmic bias.

    Adding to his native Nigeria and new home, Dimeji has exhibited in several U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Athens, West Virginia; Charlotte and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

  • About The Host

    Dexter Wimberly is an independent curator and entrepreneur who has organized exhibitions and developed programs with galleries and institutions throughout the world including The Third Line in Dubai; Contemporary Art Museum CAM Raleigh in North Carolina; The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco; Koki Arts in Tokyo; and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. His exhibitions have been reviewed and featured in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, and Hyperallergic; and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Wimberly has also served as Director of Strategic Planning at Independent Curators International in New York City.

    Prior to his curatorial career, Wimberly was the managing partner and CEO of the advertising agency, August Bishop, representing a diverse array of clients, including Adidas, The Coca-Cola Company and, HBO. Wimberly is a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art. He is also the founder of ART WORLD CONFERENCE, a business and financial literacy conference for visual artists. He and ART WORLD CONFERENCE co-organizer, Heather Bhandari were recently listed in the Observer's "Arts Power 50: Changemakers Shaping the Art World in 2019.”

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