Local Creative Fusion Artists, Gary Williams and Robin Robinson
During her Creative Fusion Residency with host organization Cleveland Public Theatre, Brazilian artist Ananda Nahu has been paired with award-winning Cleveland artists, Gary Williams and Robin Robinson of Sankofa Fine Arts Plus. Gary and Robin are muralists that paint mostly portraits. They are behind the powerful Our Lives Matter mural on East 105 Street and Yale Avenue. They first began working on public art projects in 2013 when they were selected as apprentices of nationally renowned muralist Kent Twitchell, who was commissioned to paint the monumental 40-foot mural of actress/activist Ruby Dee on an exterior wall of Karamu House. They have since created an installed several commissioned murals.
Sankofa Fine Arts Pus is a non-profit art organization founded in 1999 with a mission to support and advocate for African American and underrepresented visual artists in Northeast Ohio. It is committed to bringing art with positive messages to Cleveland’s streetscapes and public spaces for the purpose of instilling a sense of pride and empowerment in those communities making them the perfect collaborators for Ananda’s mural project in the Lakeview Terrace Estate. Lakeview Terrace is a public housing estate where the Cleveland Public Theatre has been conducting it’s Brick City Theatre program since 1999. “This particular community is currently faced with a massive blank wall that separates them from the rest of the city. Gary and I believe Ananda’s mural style and technique will uplift and inspire the community by giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Robin shared.
When asked what experience they believe will be important for Ananda to have while she’s here Robinson replied, “Cleveland is a city that is rich in cultural diversity and art experiences. I would like Ananda to visit all of the varied art organizations both formal and grassroots. But not to limit her experiences to visual art. We have open drum circles as well as concerts in the park, community theater and neighborhood connections. The arts are forms of communication that have no boundaries or language barriers.”
They eagerly anticipated the opportunity to work with Ananda saying, ”Ananda’s work is very similar to ours. We are both very excited to work with her creation of her vision, but more importantly the opportunity to share techniques and global artistic viewpoints.”