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On The Shoulders Of Giants by Ya’qub Shabazz

April 1, 2022 - May 7, 2022

Opening Reception: April 1, 6-9pm
Listen to the artist speak about their artwork: (Coming soon!)

On The Shoulders Of Giants consists of a new series of portraits by native Chicagoan, poet, U.S. Army Veteran, and formerly incarcerated artist, Ya’qub Shabazz. Shabazz is primarily a painter but as of April 2020 has come to love digital painting. When COVID-19 impacted our world, Mr. Shabazz started to experiment with this new medium. He set out on a mission to document (visually) those historic figures that inspired him most in his formative years as an incarcerated young person. These figures are important to Mr. Shabazz for many reasons, some of which are deeply personal, however he is more than willing to share the transformational aspects of each of their lives and experiences. Each of the portraits represents how these people took the canvas of life and painted their own portraits. They each took the reins and made sacrifices, some of these sacrifices left them scarred and it is in those scars where we find the beauty that colors their lived experiences.

About the Artist

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Ya’qub Shabazz is a visual artist, collector, and art educator on a mission to highlight the beauty and contribution of Black American artists, both contemporary and historical.

His work explores the relationship between contemporary artistic expression and historical African aesthetic. His influences include Lois Mailou Jones, Charles White, and Aaron Douglas (to name a few) however a large part of his influences were born in the literary world and were made manifest through the visual arts. Primarily an oil painter, Ya’qub Shabazz explores wood carving, acrylic painting, woodblock printing, and many other mediums that express the range of his experiences. His works are not limited to one area similar to Mr. Shabazz himself, he is an artist, writer, father, husband, formerly incarcerated, veteran, and most importantly, a curator of Black culture.

Ever since he was a pre-adolescent he had been fascinated by the deeper meanings of things, words, historical figures, and most importantly cultural symbolism. What started out as a "yearning to know” became a tenacious self-study and research into Black Aesthetics that he expresses in a wide variety of artworks. @sankofa_studios @yaqub_shabazz