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Alfred Conteh

Alfred Conteh is a visual artist with a passionate desire to share his life experiences and personal truth with the African American community. Growing up in Fort Valley, Georgia –100 miles south of Atlanta – Conteh discovered his interests in the arts at a very early age. “Most people during their formative years, might see themselves in a certain position when they grew older,” he says. “I always saw myself as an artist. It was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” His enthusiasm for comic books and cartoons developed into an interest in visual arts as a student at Peach County High School. There he learned art history, technique, and skill under the direction of his mentor and art teacher, Johnny Heller. Conteh soon realized that there was a great deal more to learn and explore. He continued his education at Hampton University, earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. It was at Hampton where he says he formed a supportive community with fellow classmates and developed his proficiency as an artist. Conteh then earned a Masters in Fine Arts at Georgia Southern University. There he was given free rein to develop his individual style and experiment with new mediums, expanding his repertoire from paintings and sketches to sculpture and other three-dimensional formats. As a working artist, Conteh continues to develop his craft and considers himself a student of history. His personal experiences have sparked new energy toward addressing social issues impacting black communities that he has not touched before. “In my most recent works I advocate for entrepreneurship. Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X taught us that our empowerment lies in our economic base. We haven’t actualized it. I’ve tried to express that, making the unseen, seen,” he says. Conteh contends that very little is taught about African art history, particularly among aspiring artists of color on the university level. He aims to use his art as a platform for dialogue that encourages other artists to learn about themselves and share their stories more boldly. “It’s problematic when our greatest aspiration is to seek accolades based on what the dominant culture sees worthy of awarding you. We have to see value in ourselves.” A classically trained artist, Conteh aspires to tell a deeper and sometimes grayer story about black people in America, stretching beyond traditional images depicting slavery, church, and romantic relationships. What most excites him is the reaction to his creations over time. “I make my work for my people,” he says. “I want to appeal to African Americans and encourage them to be stewards of our culture and history.” This is his statement for his paintings: “This body of work is a visual exploration of how african diasporal societies in the south are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars from within and without to survive. The honest and false narratives of history embodied in this series are primarily personified in patinated colossuses that commemorate the people, culture, and battles that the populations they tower over have fought and continue to fight. We are at war on two fronts.”

Curriculum Vitae

Education

Georgia Southern University, Master of Fine Arts, 2004
Hampton University, Bachleor of Fine Arts, 1997

Selected Exhibition Record (*Solo shows marked by asterisk)

2016

*Two Fronts: Works on Paper,  Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Little Rock, AR, Curator Garbo Hearne Artist as Witness, Memory Keeper & Social Conscience, Hudgens Center for the Arts, Duluth, GA, Curator Jerushia Graham
The Postman Collects: The Rapture of Kerry and C.Betty Davis, Clark Atlanta University Gallery, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA, Curator Maurita Poole   
* Bitter Medicines, Sweet Poisons, Bobick Gallery, University of West Georgia, Carrollton,GA, Curator Stephanie Smith        

2015

Topography, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN, Curator Jamaal Sheats
Freedom Expressions ATL II, Ghost Slavery: Art Against Human Trafficking, Gallery 72 and     Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Atlanta, GA, Curator Michael Simanga Zucot Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Curator Onaje Henderson
Black Artists of Georgia, Tubman Museum, Macon, GA, Curator Jeff Bruce      

2014

Bitter Medicines, Sweet Poisons,  Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Little Rock, AR              

2013

United We Stand, Alabama State University, Curator Cleve Webber

2012

* Tubman Museum, Macon, GA, Curator Jeff Bruce Tom Joyner Foundation Annual Exhibition, Zucot Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Curator Onaje Henderson

2011

Views, Moods, and Attitudes,  Zucot  Gallery, Atlanta , GA NBAF Annual Exhibition, Catherine Kelleghan Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Curator Michael Harris

2010

*Avisca Gallery, Marietta, GA, Curator Lynn Porter               

2009

*Alfred Conteh, Rosa Parks Museum, Troy State University,  Montgomery, Alabama, Curator  Catherine Wright
*Duality, Studio Clout Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, Curator Linda Lima

2008

New Black, Studio Swan Gallery, Palmetto, Georgia, Curators Larry Walker and Kevin Sipp

2007

*Refuge, Naio Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, Curator Gaelle Garrett On the Spot,City Hall East Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, Curator Freddie Styles
*Dimensions, Taina Art Gallery, Montgomery, Alabama
*Alfred Conteh, Southwest Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia, Curator Brian Hebert

2005

Southern Hospitality, Art on 5 Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
*Alfred Conteh, Be Original! Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
Fried Chicken and Watermelon, Art on 5 Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, Curator Tommy Lee

2004

Faith, African American Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Miami, Florida

2003

*Alfred Conteh, Kalmanson Gallery, Georgia Southwestern University, Swainsboro, Georgia, Lee  Kalmanson
*Alfred Conteh, The Art Exchange, Macon, Georgia, Curator Eric O’Dell
*Alfred Conteh, Mercer University Art Department Gallery, Macon, Georgia

Selected  Public & Private Collections

Museum of Arts and Sciences Permanent Collection, Macon, Ga

Georgia Southern University Permanent Collection, Statesboro, Ga

Georgia Southwestern University Permanent Collection on display in Student Union, Swainsboro, GA

Hammonds House Museum Permanent Collection, Atlanta, GA

United Way Corporate Collection, Atlanta, GA

Tubman Museum Permanent Collection, Macon, GA

Kevin & Karen Cole,  Artist/Educator, Fairburn GA

Dr. Jolita Burns, Tallahassee, FL

Dr. Michael Mitchell, Tallahassee, FL

Stanley Mitchell, Former M.I.T. Astrophysicist Stanley Mitchell, Dublin, GA

Dr. Patrice Boddie, Milledgeville, GA

Dr. Dameon Fisher, Atlanta, GA

Bajeel Art Foundation, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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