Revolutionizing the Systems We’re Transcending

Osaze Akil Stigler

Osaze Akil Stigler is based in Atlanta, GA and his work takes a contemporary view on Black divinity, pulling from traditional African cultures, spirituality and the intersection of Blackness and fashion. Along with being a visual artist, he is also a graduate of the University of Georgia and is now a practicing Landscape Architect and Urban Planner.

Visual artist Osaze Akil Stigler’s virtual exhibition, Revolutionizing the Systems We’re Transcending, focuses on his experience as an African American, combining the often opposing worlds of being of African descent and living under systems of racial supremacy. The works address the question of how the social conditioning of racial supremacy intersects with the healing of Black Americans as they evolve and understand themselves as a community, independent of and in spite of injustice. A selection of works will be on view at UTA Artist Space through April 10.

The show also explores the way that religion has framed the ways Black people view themselves. Christianity is one of the most significant components of the Black American identity and is arguably the base for how they have built so many other cultural elements, such as dialects and music. Several works in the show address the trauma from seeing spiritual figures depicted as the Black community’s opposites. Representation can be vital when envisioning oneself in a space other than where they are.

“It is exponentially more crucial when the area in which you lack representation is a core component in the foundation of your identity,” said Akil. “I believe depicting Black people in modernized images of divinity in our God-given beauty will allow others see themselves in my art.”

“Drawing from the biblical story of David and Goliath, this piece is a representation of black victory. It’s an imagination of what it looks like for black people to overcome oppressive systems and ideologies.”

“This piece addresses the question of how the social conditioning of white supremacy intersects with the healing of black Americans as we evolve and understand ourselves as a people, independent of and in spite of white systems. It’s also an analysis of how the reconciliation of African Americans and continental Africans might look.”

“This piece is my depiction of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.”

“Working through this was me working through my imagination of a future where black creations, thoughts, and designs are equally as valued as any other. It’s an analysis of what we view as being luxury and why, and what happens when we decide to shift our perspectives.”

“This piece is my depiction of the biblical characters Samson and Delilah.”

“As I was working on this piece, I explored what it means to feel secure. This piece is a depiction of security of self, and the freedom and confidence that it brings, solidifying your position in the world within yourself first.”

“This works represents a reclamation of power and contentment in the middle of difficult situations. I made this work reflecting on the toll that the pandemic has taken on all of us, and wanted to create an image that reinforced that small pleasures, comfort, access, and abundance are still possibilities.”

“Quickly following the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol, I debriefed the events with my therapist where she asked, “What do you think your responsibility should be with all of this?” I replied that I don’t think I have any responsibility with these events. This painting is my depiction of what “black responsibility”, or lack thereof should’ve looked during that time. After experiencing the backlash that we did during the summer, protesting the murders caused by racialized police violence, the blatant contrast with the events of January 6th forced many Americans to confront their own biases and be honest with themselves about a lot. To me, this wasn’t a black mess to clean up, or even address. This was a time for collective black rest.”

“This painting is my depiction of the biblical characters Adam and Eve, however the piece centralizes Eve as the protagonist. Eve is the one who was created to make the world complete.”

“Traditionally in African American churches, the elder women are referred to as “mothers”. These women are highly regarded and respected for their insight, candor, and communal value. This painting depicts a church mother, and I play with traditional religious fashion elements such as the big church hats common n African American culture, as well as papal regalia, often worn by Catholic leaders.”

Osaze Akil Stigler

David and Goliath, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 60 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Reconciled Paths, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 60 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Madonna and Child, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 48 inches

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Revolutionized Luxury

Revolutionized Luxury, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 48 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Samson and Delilah, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

30 x 40 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Safe Haven, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

24 x 48 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Afternoon Tea in Isolation, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 60 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

I Decided to Take a Day, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

36 x 60 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

Eve’s Adam, 2021

Oil and gold leaf on canvas

30 x 40 inches

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Osaze Akil Stigler

No Wasted Candor, 2021

Oil on canvas

24 x 30 inches

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