RAHSHIA SAWYER

Photography | USA

Rahshia Sawyer (1976) is a conceptual photographer based in the Washington DC area. She was the 2012 recipient of the Contemporary Talents award from France’s François Schneider Foundation. 

Beauty anchors us to our humanity; it acts as the balance between reality and fantasy. ​

PORTRAIT

Kingsley Ogwara (1975) studied his bachelors in Fine and Applied Arts at Delta State University in Abrake, Nigeria and resides and works from Luxembourg, where he is a well recognised painter and sculptor. His paintings and sculptures in clay, stone, wood or metal consist of organic concave and convex forms, mostly (semi-)abstract and are inspired by African or European images and symbols.They center about human transformation and connection, about the freedom and harmony that can be  found in the masses. As such they rather express a state of mind than an extensive narrative.

Ogwara: “In our globalized world with its many issues, we each struggle individually to live our lives in a meaningful way. When we grow up, we build up our defenses, often based on fear and distrust, resulting from the inevitable hardships that life brings sometimes. However, life also brings unexpected compassion and new windows, and each hardship brings new insights, makes us reflect and grow. We all need to mature, overcome fear and distrust and open up our defenses to connect to each other, dare to be vulnerable to give and receive love. My works are about this transformation and interconnectedness”

His paintwork with knives in oil and acrylic on canvas are characterized by pointilistic abstract orchestrations of colors and rich textures, which seem to take on the form of masses of people. Ogwara typically  hides his initial images behind these thick pointilistic pastiche layers, which creates a lot of depth and suggestion. In his latest Icon-series, he experiments with adding some figurative element by allowing the initial portraits to shine through. 

 Ogwara has participated in many group- and solo exhibitions, amongst others in Luxemburg, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Austria. He was awarded amongst others the prestigious bi-annual Prix Pierre Werner for his paintings as best artist in Luxembourg in 2016. At the Luxembourg Art Week 2019, he was nominated again with his sculptures for the Grand-Duc Adolphe award and in 2022 again for the Prix Pierre Werner, which granted him the titular membership of CAL as the first African member in its history. Most recently, he showed for 6 months at the blockbuster exhibition “Gospel” at the historical Catharijne Convent museum in Utrecht (Netherlands). His paintings are included in collections all over the world.

Rahshia Sawyer (1976) is a conceptual photographer based in the Washington DC area. She was the 2012 recipient of the Contemporary Talents award from France’s François Schneider Foundation. Exhibited in the 2012 Inaugural Dublin Biennial, her photographs and installations have been included in numerous group shows in Canada, England, France, Ireland, Spain, and the United States. Her work is in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s permanent collections, Foundation François Schneider, and Radford University Museum.

More recently, she received the 2020 Honorable Mention from the International Photography Awards. She received her MFA from George Mason University in Virginia and her BFA at the Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington DC. Her current projects examine the balanced (or imbalanced) relationship between beauty and chaos.

Beauty anchors us to our humanity; it acts as the balance between reality and fantasy. Our experience of the world is not static; it is a compilation of layers. Maturing over time, we add layers upon layers, becoming ridged but never finite. An inquiry into the existential questions of our reality, identity, and beliefs lead us to examine layers of significant transition. When we passed from the known to the unknown, this time is described by many as a sensation of floating, being disconnected from their reality.

“My work contrasts this Daedalian journey with figurative photographs, the subject disconnected from the ground signifying their transforming reality. Each composition is selected to be neutral, that sliver of space between positive and negative. Allowing the works abstract quality to be informed by the viewer, recreating a singular struggle with our emotions — an experience we all share.”






SPOTLIGHT

WORKS

CREDENTIALS

Solo exhibitions

2018
  • Invisible Listeners: Signature Gallery Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA
2017     
  • Within the im/balance, The Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas & Prince William County, VA
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, ArtSpace Herndon, Herndon, VA
2016     
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, Craddock-Terry Gallery, Lynchburg, VA
2014     
  • Then you weren’t, Workhouse Art Center, Lorton VA 
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, MFA Thesis Show, George Mason University (catalog)
2013     
  • Subversion, Greenbelt Community Art Center, Greenbelt MD

Education

2014     
  • MFA Art and Visual Technology School of Art George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
2004   
  • BFA Photography Corcoran College of Art + Design Washington DC
1996     



Group exhibitions

2021
  • Undertow, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands
2018     
  • EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA
  • ASPIRE, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (catalog)
2016   
  • Berlin Foto Biennale 2016: Palazzo Italia, Berlin
2014     
  • Contemporary Talent 2012, François Schneider Foundation, Wattwiller France
  • Dealing with Trauma through Art Making, Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Positive ID: Bodies & Subjectivities in Photography: NOVA-Woodbridge, Woodbridge, VA
  • Artifex: GMU Graduate Student Exhibit: Capital One Corp. Art Program, Richmond, VA
  • 2nd Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)
2013     
  • Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC
  • Common Pulse Festival: Intersecting Abilities, Durham Art Gallery, Ontario Canada
  • ACADEMY 2013: Annual MFA / BFA Invitational, CONNORSMITH, Washington DC
  • EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA
  • Humans Being II: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)
  • Body and Brain: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)
  • 1st Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)
2012     
  • Artomatic 2012, Crystal City, VA
  • The Surrealist Influence on Contemporary Photography, Austin, TX
  • Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC
2011      
  • Graduate Student Exhibition: GMU School of Art, VA

Collections

  • Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
  • François Schneider Foundation
  • Radford University Museum, Radford VA

Awards

2020   
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
2017     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
2016     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
  • Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)
2015     
  • Finalist, 8th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award
  • Honorable Mention, Jax Exhibition
  • Honorable Mention, Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA)
  • Semi-Finalist, The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards
  • 2nd Place, EMULSION 2015
2014     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
  • Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)
  • Best in Show, WATERGIRL, Artzibs Gallery
  • Academic and Artistic Excellence, George Mason University
2013     
  • Grand Prix Juror Award of Merit, International Fine Art Photography Competition
  • Contemporary Talent 2012, Photography Category, François Schneider Foundation
  • Gold Medal Award San Francisco International Photography Exhibition
  • 2nd Place, Fine Art Photography Competition 2013
  • Juror’s Choice Award, Open Water!
  • Leadership Award, ODIME 2013 Vision Awards
  • EMERGE Fellowship Award, 2013 Midwest Photo Emerge
2012     
  • First Place, 1st Annual Radford Photography Exhibition
  • Purchase Award, Art Comes Alive


2018

  • Invisible Listeners: Signature Gallery Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA
2017     
  • Within the im/balance, The Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas & Prince William County, VA
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, ArtSpace Herndon, Herndon, VA
2016     
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, Craddock-Terry Gallery, Lynchburg, VA
2014     
  • Then you weren’t, Workhouse Art Center, Lorton VA 
  • Some Things I Can’t Explain, MFA Thesis Show, George Mason University (catalog)
2013     
  • Subversion, Greenbelt Community Art Center, Greenbelt MD

2021

  • Undertow, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands
2018     
  • EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA
  • ASPIRE, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (catalog)
2016   
  • Berlin Foto Biennale 2016: Palazzo Italia, Berlin
2014     
  • Contemporary Talent 2012, François Schneider Foundation, Wattwiller France
  • Dealing with Trauma through Art Making, Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Positive ID: Bodies & Subjectivities in Photography: NOVA-Woodbridge, Woodbridge, VA
  • Artifex: GMU Graduate Student Exhibit: Capital One Corp. Art Program, Richmond, VA
  • 2nd Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)
2013     
  • Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC
  • Common Pulse Festival: Intersecting Abilities, Durham Art Gallery, Ontario Canada
  • ACADEMY 2013: Annual MFA / BFA Invitational, CONNORSMITH, Washington DC
  • EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA
  • Humans Being II: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)
  • Body and Brain: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)
  • 1st Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)
2012     
  • Artomatic 2012, Crystal City, VA
  • The Surrealist Influence on Contemporary Photography, Austin, TX
  • Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC
2011      
  • Graduate Student Exhibition: GMU School of Art, VA
AWARDS
2020   
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
2017     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
2016     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
  • Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)
2015     
  • Finalist, 8th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award
  • Honorable Mention, Jax Exhibition
  • Honorable Mention, Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA)
  • Semi-Finalist, The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards
  • 2nd Place, EMULSION 2015
2014     
  • Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)
  • Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)
  • Best in Show, WATERGIRL, Artzibs Gallery
  • Academic and Artistic Excellence, George Mason University
2013     
  • Grand Prix Juror Award of Merit, International Fine Art Photography Competition
  • Contemporary Talent 2012, Photography Category, François Schneider Foundation
  • Gold Medal Award San Francisco International Photography Exhibition
  • 2nd Place, Fine Art Photography Competition 2013
  • Juror’s Choice Award, Open Water!
  • Leadership Award, ODIME 2013 Vision Awards
  • EMERGE Fellowship Award, 2013 Midwest Photo Emerge
2012     
  • First Place, 1st Annual Radford Photography Exhibition
  • Purchase Award, Art Comes Alive
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
  • François Schneider Foundation
  • Radford University Museum, Radford VA

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