Four Prominent Cincinnati African-American Artists Will Join Forces for 'Cultural Compositions' Exhibit at Oakley's Caza Sikes

The show hones in on themes surrounding Jazz, Rock & Roll and Hip Hop — and the people behind the genres

click to enlarge "Hoods in the Hoods" - Jimi Jones
Jimi Jones
"Hoods in the Hoods"
Cultural Compositions — a new exhibition at Caza Sikes in Oakley — will peer into the political and cultural hues of Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock & Roll and the influential people behind the music. Opening Feb. 8, the show features four local African-American artists: Jimi Jones, Cedric Michael Cox, Ricci Michaels and Terence Hammonds.

“Hoods in the Hoods” — a piece by Jones — will be the largest work presented. The 6-by-12 foot painting is colored in various shades of red, orange and yellow, all juxtaposed with splotches of black and white. The work’s namesake sprawls above the faces of Hip Hop multi-millionaires like Jay Z, Eminem and Tupac Shakur in graffiti-esque type. 

Jones explains the piece via an artist statement on his website: “There are cultures within cultures. Our popular icons are seldom symbols of the mass culture but of subcultures outside the mainstream. How curious it is that the world of the ghetto is idolized in popular music. And how curious it is that those popular artists do not live in the ghetto but in mansions. So our outsiders become our symbols of success.”

Cox’s works speak to elements of Jazz. One of the artworks to be presented, “Still Life with Lady and Violin,” utilizes abstract curves and cubism; the shapes are imbued with dreamy, soft colors. Alongside new pieces, some of the work from his 2017 solo exhibition at the Taft Museum of Art will be for sale.

You can buy some of Hammonds’ artworks as well. Backdropped in flaked gold, one of his pieces features the iconic novelist James Baldwin, who is pictured with a cigarette in his mouth and twin ovals — covered in white and red triangles — over his eyes. Prior to becoming a solo artist, Hammonds worked for Rookwood Pottery for a decade.

Michaels’ work — like the other artists in this exhibit — has been displayed a bit of everywhere, including the Cincinnati Art Museum and Freedom Center. Her work has also been collected by some big names, including Maya Angelou and Esther Rolle. A Navy veteran and legally blind, she also wants to serve as an "inspirational catalyst for others," according to a release.

In a statement on her website, she says that she wants people “to receive (her) art with an open mind. Each image and message is meant to evoke a strong opinion or reveal deeper emotions within my viewers.”

The exhibit will be on display Feb. 8-March 15. The opening reception from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 8 includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. For more info, visit

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