Breakthrough Artist Amiri Farris Launches Multimedia Black History Month Platform

ESSENCE Music Festival poster by Amiri Geuka Farris.

ESSENCE Music Festival poster by Amiri Geuka Farris.

 

Works by the rising-star artist, musician, and poet Amiri Geuka Farris will on display in not one or two, but three exhibitions in the U.S. Southeast during Black History Month 2010 and his new CD, The Weekend, will be released during the same period.

 

Farris’ work is currently on exhibit until March at the popular Brookegreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. In December 2009, he was among the featured artists at the Red Piano Too Gullah Holiday celebration on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Prior to that, he was selected Gullah Artist of the Year. New events showcasing his work launched February 1, 2010, and more are scheduled to follow:

  • From February 1-28, Farris’ work will join that of celebrated artist Jonathan Green and other notable artists as part of the 14th Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration.
  • He has also been named along with fellow artists Allen Fireall and Keith Herrington as the featured artist of the month at Friedman’s Fine Art Gallery in Savannah, Georgia.
  • In addition, Farris’ Africanology Realities in the American Worlds exhibition kicks off February 8 and runs until March 8 at Savannah State University.

 

"I am creating an original song called Africanology  that I will perform during the Savannah State opening reception," said Farris. The act of turning inspired concepts into actual creative works, whether musical, visual, or literary, is something Farris seems to take in stride.

Dedication to craftsmanship and a passion for exploring possibilities inherent in different mediums and styles has won him a growing and diverse audience in each chosen field of creative industry. A good comparison for what he has accomplished in this regard might be to the veteran actor Billy Dee Williams, who has earned acceptance as both a dramatic performer and fine visual artist. Another might be iconic singer/songwriter and artist Joni Mitchell. The major difference when making any such comparisons is always a matter of individual style, and Farris’, like that of Luther E. Vann, is very much his own.

Where his visual art is concerned, style is a matter of mixed fine art mediums combined with collage, photos, and sometimes computer-aided graphics all filtered through a creative perspective that spans a continuum ranging from ancestral legacies to futuristic cutting-edge trends. One can view in his work everything from bold fusions of modern expressionism and surrealism to daring comic-book influenced images and finely realistic portraiture.


Think Lady Gaga hanging out with Michael Jackson

Much of what one might say about Farris’ visual art might also be said of the fifteen tracks on his first full CD, Tales of the Breakdown. An adrenaline-rush synthesis of industrial techno, Hip Hop, and dance funk, the music is more likely to throw listeners a scratched curve or sudden paused suspension than to slow down to any pace approaching mid-tempo. For his part, when it comes to the music, Farris suggests listeners unfamiliar with his sound, "Think Lady Gaga hanging out with Michael Jackson on Cybertron."

 

Ironically enough, his first name, Amiri, actually means "prince" or "princely," giving him something in common with another music superstar altogether. And yet the name he employs on stage as a performance artist is his middle name, Geuka (pronounced: Jay-yoo-kah) which is Swahili for re-birth.

 

The new CD, The Weekend, was still undergoing final edits at press time for this story but the artist-singer said it, "features songs based on a weekend mentality." With titles like "Saturday Night" and "Dynamite," it is probably a "mentality" that likes to party and chances are the technotronic beats will prove as fierce as those on Tales of the Breakdown.   

 

Please Click Here for Part 2: Education of a twenty-first century artist

 

by Aberjhani
author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
and The River of Winged Dreams

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