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Tucked away at the Canopy in Tulsa’s Arts District, a young, Black artist filled the space with vibes and melanin during a solo art exhibition on Thursday, October 20.
Angel Okolie, a 23-year-old University of Tulsa fine arts senior, debuted a new collection of artwork inspired by locations around the city. Offering a free event with an open bar, Okolie’s Black excellence was on full display as supporters explored his vibrant landscapes and poignant portraits to the taste of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
“I specialize in portraiture. I would describe it as very engaging, very lively, especially my skylines,” artist Okolie told The Black Wall Street Times.
“They’re meant to drive a happy feeling. They’re meant to drive a positive feeling when you look at it,” he added.
Artist showcase brings out Black excellence
For two of Okolie’s friends, the positive vibes were in full effect. Adrian Mellton and Stan Williams both attended the artist showcase and talked to The Black Wall Street Times about what being in the space meant to them.
“I love his art so much, and it always has his signature look. Anytime I look at something I’m like, ‘yeah, that’s Angel,’” Mellton said.
“I like how it all has some type of reference to Oklahoma but with his own spin on everything,” Williams added.
Ultimately, debuting his showcase near Historic Greenwood District, home to the original Black Wall Street, wasn’t lost on artist Okolie.
“When we think of art and classy, we always think pressed-up buttoned-up with white skin. It’s not always like that. There is a real thing called Black luxury. If anything, luxury came from Black [people] first,” Okolie said.
Dozens attended Thursday’s event, taking in the beauty of the portraits while embracing community, and artist Okolie has no intentions of stopping his Black excellence.
“It’s really inspirational for me.”