The Shot Tower Gallery presents the exhibition “Wish you Were Here: Smoky and Kojo” to celebrate, posthumously, the 100th birthday of Smoky Brown and the 80th birthday of Kojo Kamau and to honor the legacy of the two iconic artists that contributed their artistic talents to this community.
The exhibition features work by Grandpa Smoky Brown from the collection of Dr. Roy Gottlieb and includes paintings, mixed media and sculpture. Grandpa Smoky Brown was an artist that expressed his experiences and life through his art using paint, sculpture, mixed media, found objects and papier mache. Smoky was a founding member of ACE.
“As an outsider artist, Brown offered insightful reflections on social and cultural issues, pointing out human quirks, foibles and vulnerabilities with passion and power. As political as they can be, Brown’s works don’t seem preachy. He used humor, exaggeration and whimsy, and surreal images to make his point. ”The Columbus Dispatch
Photographs by Kojo Kamau from the collections of Gottlieb and private collectors are also featured. Kojo was co-founder of (ACE) Art for Community Expression Gallery, one of the first galleries in Columbus’s Short North art district, and served as an advocate for African American artists, providing a venue for them to show their work. Kojo also worked with several other community arts groups benefiting the entire Central Ohio arts community. The celebrated photographer documented positive images of African and African American culture. The selected works reveal his broad range of historical photos that represent his travel and include local and national celebrities and the first of its kind images on the Long Street Bridge Cultural Wall.
“In his photos are the history of America. He has beautiful photos of the civil-rights movement, of presidents coming through Columbus, but then he also documented things in our community, too, that allow us to preserve our history.” Demetries Neely, executive director of the King Arts Complex
Kojo’s work is in the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Columbus Foundation, the Ohio Supreme Court, Central Ohio Transit Authority, and the Downtown Columbus Hilton Hotel. A Columbus, Ohio native, he attended East High School, studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design, The Ohio State University, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was chief medical photographer at The Ohio State University and was a photography instructor at Columbus State Community College.
“Wish You Were Here” exhibition celebrates the personal identities by two vastly different Columbus artists who shared a love for our community and dedicated much of their lives to create art that leaves us a lasting legacy of history and culture.
The exhibition will run from October 28 – December 13, 2019 with an opening reception and celebration of the artists on October 24, 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. The Shot Tower Gallery is celebrating its 40th year presenting local and national exhibitions in 2020 and is located at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, 546 Jack Gibbs Blvd. 43215. The gallery is open from 8:00 – 4:00 p.m. and by appointment. Contact Director Teresa Weidenbusch, 614-365-6681 for information.