The paintings of Timothy Orikri bring light into darkness in his current exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. One just has to walk in the room to feel the energy generated by his brilliant use of color and form. From the juxtaposition of his native "Hip Dancers" to “Dancer’s Secret,” a painting of teenage girls in a ballet class, his native African roots and love for his new homeland, America, are evident with each brush stroke.
As the City of Detroit struggles in these difficult times, his own struggles as an artist show through in his loving creation of a series of painting of Motown, vibrant and hopeful. On one wall, a painting of President Obama hangs in honor of our first African American president and as a testament to hope for this nation. While Orikri’s quiet tribute to his deceased brother, Dan, an accomplished musician, is represented by two of the “I Remember Dan” series. With all this, there are yet others to capture your attention such as an African seascape and multimedia mask interpreted in a contemporary format.
There is no way to prepare you for the experience of Timothy Orikri’s artistry. Your breath will literally be taken away as you enter the room. Beyond the brilliant colors and forms, lie the subtleties that will cause you to linger and absorb what you see and feel. Iridescence is described as an optical phenomenon--indeed, a good description for this artist’s creative endeavors.
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