Born and raised in Cleveland, the visual artist Dakarai Akil
[pictured], who attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and founded the brand Lame Brotherhood, uses old magazines and photo books to create “visually striking collages and murals from an Afrocentric lens.”
His mural work has appeared in the Detroit Shoreway area and the Waterloo Arts District. The locally based Guide to Kulchur Press will publish his forthcoming book, GodBody
, I just wanted to recognize that black and brown people are cut from the fabric of a divine source,” explains Akil in a press release. “This collection of work is my way of communicating that we are worthy of joy and happiness during a time of so much violence. I hope the work allows people to discuss our highs, our lows, our beauty and our courage to live everyday with our heads held high even when it seems like the world is against us.”
To help promote that forthcoming book and Akil's artwork in general, the local community art space, Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator
, a venue that hosts monthly poetry slam competitions for adults and teens and has also produced staged readings written by playwrights such as Cleveland Arts Prize winner Mary E. Weems, will have a viewing of Akil’s work at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. The venue has also invited poets for what it calls a "Live Call for Submissions."
According to a press release about the event, “poets will respond to Dakarai's work by creating poems and other writings while inside the venue. At the end of the night, we'll conduct a midnight poetry reading, and the works chosen during the reading will be published in Dakarai's forthcoming collection of poetry and art.”
DJs Red-I, Candi Fresca and A-Live of Muamin Collective will respond with live DJing and musical production.
“Dakarai’s work interweaves colors, textures, themes and media in a way that is exciting and challenging to the viewer,” explains Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator executive artist director Gray-Kontar. “We just felt that any event in support of Dakarai’s artistic vision should match the innovation and intentionality of his artworks.”
The event is free.