Black Miami Artists That Everyone Should Know

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Art of Black Miami shines a spotlight on Miami's most popular artists.

Gonzalo Borges

Gonzalo Borges, a prominent Cuban painter and drawer, was born in La Habana Cuba. Since his early years his talent was evident for drawing, devoting particular attention to mythological African classic tales of the Yoruba religion. At the age of twelve, Borges began his first painting production in which he undertook those matters related to Cuban folklore. When he was only 15 years old, Borges joined the prestigious National Plastic Arts School of San Alejandro, where he received lessons and the personal instruction from consecrated Cuban painting professors such as René Portocarrero and Amelia Peláez, and also from sculptor Florencio Gelabelt, among other outstanding professors of Cuban Plastic. His first collective exposition was held at the Exposition Hall of the National Plastic Arts School of San Alejandro, where he won first prize in a painting contest among a group of young Cuban artists. He spent years in mural painting with the famous Spanish fresh painting (Al Fresco) professor Vicente Klemade, becoming his assistant and direct pupil, participating with him in the production of several wall paintings of Bible themes that are still kept in cathedrals and churches of Old Habana, being found in such temples as Caridad del Cobre, Monserrat, La Merced, San Juan Bosco, and The Sacred Heart. Gonzalo migrated to New York City in 1991, and relocated to Miami in 1999.

Chris Butler


Christopher Butler (“Chris”) was born in Kingston Jamaica. He displayed a remarkable passion for drawing from a very young age. Throughout the years as a student of Calabar High school, he devoted himself to excel in all subjects that involved the arts and he maintained high grades. In 1988, he migrated to Toronto, Canada and enrolled at Central Technical Fine Arts Institute of Toronto. A year later, he continued his artistic yearnings at George Brown College of Graphic Arts and Design, ultimately receiving his degree in Graphic and Fine Arts. In 1992 he migrated to South Florida and started his professional career as a freelance artist and interior designer. Christopher Butler has executed various commissions in South Florida, New York, Toronto and Jamaica. The range of works includes: Residential and public murals, photo realistic portraits, figurative and contemporary, abstract paintings. He is also an event planner and an avid culinary extraordinaire. Mr. Butler’s drawings and paintings have been his lifelong passion as he feels driven to pursue his goals and objectives.

Chris Carter

Raised in Boston, Chris Carter infuses a blend of ethnic and urban influences into all of his work. His bold and decisively organic sculptures strongly reflect his African-American, Native American, and European heritage. His assemblages embody power and energy, accentuated by the source materials he selects for his creations. Rarely using anything “new”, Carter fashions a chorus of images composed of recycled woods, metals, glass shards, rope, resins, and a variety of discarded objects, that when brought together seek to depict traditional concepts in an innovative and creative way. The compositions “Urban Bug”, “Totemic Columns”, and “StalwART” best encompass this objective, demonstrating the range of Carter’s work and the sculptural language he has developed and is still developing today.

Duwane Coates

Duwane Coates

Born in Havana, Cuba, Duwane Coates is an Afro-Cuban millennial who is a film maker, video artist, photographer, painter and conservator. His work is mostly about migration, neo black identity, racism in Cuba and Afro-Cuban culture. He is inspired by the life and work of the Cuban film maker, Nicholas Guillen Landrian. His work has been exhibited extensively in Europe.

Patrick De Castro

Patrick De Castro is a local Identity Artist, inspired by Matisse and abstract expressionists. He was a resident artist at the Oolite Arts. He studied Interior Design at Pratt Institute Master’s Program and has a B.A. Degree from St. John’s University. He also studied abroad in Florence, Italy, at SASCI Art Institute. Patrick has exhibited nationally and locally. His work covers many topics from nature to politics, and is in the homes of a few select private collectors.

Morel Doucet

Morel Doucet is an emerging contemporary Haitian artist that grew up in Miami, Florida where he graduated from the prestigious New World School of the Arts High School with the Distinguished Dean's Award for Ceramics. He was also awarded the coveted Marie Walsh Sharpie Foundation Scholarship and The National NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medalist award in Sculpture. He then attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) where he received his BFA degree in Ceramics with a minor in Creative Writing and concentration in Illustration. He is a recipient of MICA's Presidential Scholarship and The Alumni Award for Student Leadership, an award given to one graduating senior who has demonstrated institutional pride during their MICA experience. Morel has exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been featured in Beautiful/Decay, Trend Hunter Art & Design, Oxford University Press, The Miami Herald, Bluecanvas Magazine, Obstrusiv Magazine, The Black Male Identity Project and MICA’s Annual Report. His current endeavors as a museum art educator are led by an interest in immersing young audiences in personalized experiences that instigate curiosity, visual literacy and empirical senses (sight, hearing, etc.) as learning tools. He believes that through collaborative and explorative learning, students can develop critical thinking skills and abilities to assess their own understanding of the world around them.

Edouard Duval-Carrie

Edouard Duval-Carrié is a contemporary Haitian artist who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and currently lives and works in Miami. He was educated at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, in Paris, France; and at the University of Loyola Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. Duval-Carrié works can be found in many private collections worldwide and also in important museums and institutions. He portrays a “Marvelous Reality”, as Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier defined it in the prologue for his book, “The Kingdom of this World”, a story about Haiti that has been a strong influence on the artist. He brings into his work the nearly fantastic world of his country, in images that could be seen as illustrations of myths and legends. However, many of them become clear critiques of the social and political order in Haitian society. Duval-Carrié also presents important aspects of Haitian history, including heroes and relevant figures. He comments on the importance of the past on Haitian contemporary society from a historic viewpoint, including the issue of slavery and its weight in the development of the present. Duval-Carrié also touches on neuralgic aspects of present Haitian life such as migration and its effects on the country.

Tomas Esson

Tomas Esson

Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Tomas Esson studied at the National School of Plastic Arts "San Alejandro", and the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), both in Havana. He immigrated to Miami in 1990, after the Cuban government all but invited him to defect because his paintings combined politics and sex in grotesque caricatures of hallowed revolutionary symbols. Here in the United States, although Esson is no longer preoccupied with taking satirical swipes at Cuban culture, Fidel Castro, or Che Guevara, sex remains a dominant theme in his work with scatological, brazen, and provocative images.

Adler Guerrier

Adler Guerrier roams the streets of Miami, absorbing urban impressions before producing mixed-media drawings and sculptures, photographs, installations, and videos conveying the individual and collective experiences of cities. Though Miami is his subject and cipher for cities worldwide, he is rooted in his native Haiti. “I am Haitian, therefore I make Haitian art…I use what I have, that is a particular history, shaped by family, education, migration, neighborhoods,” he explains. In his work, Guerrier offers a vision of the urban landscape through color-saturated snapshots and drawings composed of text fragments and patterns accrued during his wanderings. Like the streets themselves, his works are a pastiche of everything—sights, sounds, people—that makes cities hum.

Tracy Guiteau

Haitian-American artist Tracy Guiteau made a discovery at an early age that takes most of us all our lives to stumble upon. She had found her purpose. She holds a BFA degree in Fashion Design from the renowned Rhode Island School of Design. Constantly putting the hours into her craft and her dreams with a positive sense of exuberance, her presence is undoubtedly heavily on the scene, exhibiting all over the country as well as internationally and scoring countless mentions and write ups in publications.

Michael W. Hudson

As a doctor of philosophy with a concentration in Anthropology, I have come to understand art as a distinctly human form of self-expression. While other forms of life seek to mimic what they see and experience, humans have a drive to be different from each other, at least within a certain zone of comfort. This compelling part of what makes us human has lead to artistic expression in its myriad forms. My form is the human body. Most often, it’s the female human body with its intersecting geometries that bring me time and again to the canvas. With humans there are so many spaces to explore; eyes; expression; posture; dress; soft places; hard places; that I have never quite gotten it right so I continue trying.

More recently I find myself drawn to other avenues of expression. The photo of Ledell Lee taken by associated press photographer Benjamin Krain as he was led to the death chamber paralyzed me for a while before I was finally able to create something around it that addressed the deeper tragedy while retaining the power of the original. Whatever the subject, the challenge will continue to be to draw on what I feel and not what I see.

Michael W Hudson works in acrylics and pencil on canvas; working mostly in earth and flesh tones, he tries to capture the J’ne sais quoi within.

Carl Juste

Under the threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl-Philippe Juste and his politically active family were forced to flee their homeland in 1965. Settling in Miami’s Haitian community, Juste flourished academically and attended the University of Miami. He vigorously pursued photojournalism and, since 1991, has worked as a photojournalist for The Miami Herald, covering many national and international assignments in such places as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he has worked on three documentary projects for the Historical Museum of Southern Florida: At the Crossroad: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami (2001) and South American Musical Traditions in Miami (2002), Haitian Community Arts: Images by Iris PhotoCollective. All are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Juste has been a guest lecturer for various national organizations and universities. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. His work has been exhibited in various prestigious institutions and galleries in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the United States. In 1998, Carl-Philippe Juste was one of the founders of Iris Photo Collective, a collaboration to create a new context in order to explore and document the relationship of people of color to the world. Juste is also the founder of IPC Visual Lab, a new school of thought teaching the art of photojournalism as a visual language.

Hanging Baskets by Saddi Khali
Hanging Baskets by Saddi Khali

Saddi Khali

Khali’s faithful walk from writer to producer and image evangelist is marked by trials and transience. Displaced overnight by Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans native returned unsheltered and untethered to his beloved community of 30 years. Khali lost a lifetime of artifacts and keepsakes, departing with bare means, memories and a budding love for photography. For Khali’s new work to signify reframing one’s narrative, he first reframed his own, repurposing his circumstance to a calling. Khali soon found beauty in losing everything, in letting go, in coming to the realization that in spite of all this… “I’m okay.” His ascension is not a portrait of loss, but a portrait of faith and faith’s labors. Khali’s photography has been featured in magazines such as ESSENCE, and on the covers of a number of books, like Random House’s TRIKSTA and in exhibitions worldwide. He was Polk State College’s inaugural Artist-In-Residence and coproduced the historical fantasy short film ASE shot on location in Nigeria. An acclaimed poet and performer, Saddi has also been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Apollo Theater’s Salon Series, and is published in over 30 anthologies and journals. Khali’s art is bold and brash through his exploration of vulnerability and courage - inviting viewers to welcome the possibilities that arise when they choose both. It is through this listening lens that Khali stakes claim to a healing arts renaissance, which fearlessly intends the restoration of black love and black beauty.

Bayunga Kiakeula

Having left the Democratic Republic of the Congo and immigrating to Miami with his family at the age of six, Bayunga Kiakeula first lived in Opa-Locka. It was there that his introduction to Black America was forged - he observed, socialized and was eventually adopted by Black Miami. Very fond memories from his rich childhood experiences from the Kitambo and Bandal neighborhoods of Kinshasa to the Miami neighborhoods of Opa-Locka, Carol City, West Perrine and Liberty City, surface in all of his paintings.

Kandy Lopez

As a visual artist, Kandy Lopez explores constructed identities, celebrating the strength, power, confidence and swag of individuals who live in urban and often economically disadvantaged environments. Through a variety of mediums, her images develop a personal and socially compelling visual vocabulary that investigates race, the human defense mechanism, visibility and armor through fashion, and gentrification. She wants her artwork to help educate, communicate, and foster uncomfortable topics that we seem to look past or avoid in our multicultural society. Representing individuals within poor communities in the U.S., these portraits help her, as a female Afro-Dominican American, come to terms with the way she too has to adopt and perform identities of survival. She holds BFA and BS degrees from the University of South Florida and MFA from Florida Atlantic University, and is currently an Assistant Professor at NOVA Southeastern University.

T. Elliot Mansa

T. Eliott Mansa was born and works in Miami. He is an alumnus of the New World School of the Arts High School. He received a Thalheimer Scholarship to attend the Maryland Institute College of the Arts, receiving his BFA degree from the University of Florida in 2000. He has also pursued his Graduate education at the Yale School of Art. His work exploring familial and socio-political themes through the lens of West African myth and lore, has been exhibited at the ArtAfrica Fair, and Prizm Art Fair during Art Basel week, the David Castillo Gallery in Miami, the African American Museum of the Arts in Deland, Florida, and the Miami International Airport.

Robert McKnight

Born in Kingstree, South Carolina, Robert McKnight’s family came to Miami in 1953. From early childhood, he excelled at art. During his high school years he studied painting at The Miami Art Center, then graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA degree in Painting. While in college, he studied sculpture in London at the Sir John Cass School of Art. After college, he returned to Miami, and worked at Miami MetroZoo as an exhibit designer specializing in the design and construction of artificial rock facades. He later went to work with Rock & Waterscape Systems of California working at Disney World in Orlando and throughout the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. Always remaining active in the Fine Arts, he exhibited extensively throughout the South Florida area and the southeastern states. As a member of The Miami Black Artist Workshop in the 70’s and KUUMBA Artist Association, he has always worked to produce opportunities for Afro American and African World Artists to become more visible. His mission as an artist is to create works that are individual in style and content reflecting his heart and soul, stretching the poetic and artistic license in both material and content.

Wendell McShine

Stitching together illusive dreams, memories and observations from his birthplace of Trinidad and his journeys through Mexico, Wendell Mc Shine creates multi-layered narratives with a vibrant visual code of imagery.

Currently a resident of Miami his practice combines drawings, installations and animations which are used to describe his investigations into self-identity. He is the founder of a community outreach program; Art Connect where he takes time away from his in-studio work to implement educational art workshops in at risk communities internationally. His works have been featured in institutions such as the Liverpool Biennale in the United Kingdom, The Kade Museum in the Netherlands, Bellas Artes Museum in Venezuela, Zona Maco Art Fair in Mexico. He’s been published in national and international publications and regularly lectures at institutions such as the Royal College of Arts, United Kingdom and the California Institute of Arts, United States. He presented “On The Power Of Your Ideas” at TedxYouth in the Facebook Headquarters. Wendell has developed numerous urban art campaigns in collaboration with Adidas Originals in Mexico City. His animated films have received awards and recognition internationally and most currently in the United States via the Inter-American Development Bank Washington D.C.


Mordecai Ray (MOKHAI) is a graphic artist from Miami Florida. He was born with a great sense of creativity and was rarely seen without a marker, paint brush or a pencil in his hand. Since early childhood, his creativity was nurtured with crafts and projects ranging from creating banners to building model cities. In his spare time, MOKHAI would read comics and even dabble in creating a few of his own. By his teen-aged years he knew that he wanted to become an artist. He attended the Art Institute and majored in Media Arts and Animation.

Addonis Parker

The force behind Addonis Parker's images was born out of love of creation and the respect and honor of his past forerunners who had neither the opportunities nor the civil rights to become the artist that he is today. He is an American artist who paints and understands the impact of his contributions as an artist to his community. Addonis Parker was well known in Central Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia art circles before coming to Miami. He has been recognized for his artistic ability since the age of 4. He is an accomplished portrait painter, muralist and collage painter. He attended Brevard Community College in Florida majoring in Art and Computer Science, then Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia obtaining continuing education credits in Art History & Music, and started an AUC Center art group from 1997 to 1998. It was then that Addonis became involved in after-school and community based art programs as the Program Director for recreation art, and science classes at the YMCA.

Magín Pérez Ortiz

Magín Pérez Ortiz, was born on September 28,1960, in La Habana, Cuba. He graduated in “La Academia de arte plásticas” San Alejandro in 1982 as well as the “Instituto Superior de Arte” in 1987 in Cuba. Between 1985 through 1995, his work was vinculated to the traditions of Afrocuban mythology; following that time, his artwork took another turn, focusing on social subject areas, expresses within his mechanical poetic world. In 1997, he moves to Gran Canaria, Spain, where he graduates with a degree in Graphic Design; later working as an Art Director for several advertising agencies. He know recides and works in the State of Florida. His pieces have been featured in several countries in Europe and the Americas.

Vickie Pierre

Vickie Pierre has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Pérez Art Museum Miami and at the Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts. There have been many articles written about Vickie Pierre, including “At Miami's Bakehouse Art Complex, Women Create Complex Visions” by Celeste Fraser Delgado for The Miami Herald in 2012.

Rodrigo Richardson

Rodrigo Richardson is a St. Croix born visual & culinary alchemist. His mixed media work tells the stories, the myths, and the cosmologies of his own diverse Caribbean heritage and of the wider African diaspora. His work not only honors his Indigenous and African background, but is aimed to expunge the lasting vestiges of colonialism. Drigo has shown his work in Florida, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.

Third Eye by Asser Saint-Val
Third Eye by Asser Saint-Val

Asser Saint-Val

A painter, sculptor and installation artist, Haitian born Asser Saint-Val moved to South Florida in 1988. His quasi-figurative images, by turns, humorous and grotesque, bring together ideas, people and incidents central to modern debates about the definition and valance of neuromelanin. Rendered in a blend of traditional art mediums and a wide range of unconventional, organic materials - coffee, chocolate, ginger and tea among them - his pictures, objects and environments are a surreal fantasia on such themes as under-recognized African American inventors, the politics of sexual desire, and the complex aesthetics, narratives and metaphors that attach to the organic compounds neuromelanin. He holds two BFA degrees from the New World School of the Arts, and twice received the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship Award.

Onajide Shabaka

Onajide Shabaka’s practice is concerned with historical/biographical themes related to geography that include African diaspora and Native American cultures. He studied at California College of the Arts and received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Onajide Shabaka has participated in various international art residencies. Most recently San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Everglades National Park, Florida. Recent exhibitions include Abracadabra, Art & Cultural Center of Hollywood (2015); Third Space; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL, MIA/BER, Galerie Verein Berliner Kunstler, Germany (2014), Unpunished, Sue Scott Gallery, New York (2011); DCG Open, David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FL (2010). Individual exhibitions include Nierika Pasajes y Entradas, Under the Bridge, North Miami, Fl (2015); Zeichnangen ind Wandabjekte, Galerie Schuster, Postdam, Germany (2012); Lake Superior Walk, North Shore, Grand Marais, Minnesota (2007). Forthcoming exhibitions include group shows (Art Basel) at Bridge Red Art Center, Miami, FL (2015) and move something': metaphysics of space & time, Under the Bridge Space, North Miami, FL (2016). Shabaka lives and works in Miami, Florida.

Troy Simmons

Troy Simmons was born in Texas and currently lives in Miami, FL. He has an educational background in Environmental Science and Architecture. Simmons' work is influenced by nature and the Brutalist Architecture movement of the 1950’s. Early childhood explorations through the piney woods of east Texas inspired his creativity. He saw a parallel between his upbringing in the urban neighborhoods of Houston, Texas and the destructive yet necessary growth patterns of a plant by the name Berchemia scandens. This encounter was the catalyst that sparked an ongoing interest in art, architecture and nature.

Gene Tinnie

As well as being a visual artist, writer, independent researcher and semi-retired educator, Dinizulu Gene Tinnie is also a cultural arts, historic preservation and social justice activist. The focus of his academic background was in foreign languages, linguistics and literature. Serving on several museum and historic preservation boards, his credits continue with the co-directorship of the Dos Amigos/Fair Rosamond Slave Ship Replica Project. He is also active in creating a Middle Passage Coalition network and information clearinghouse for organizations and individuals engaged in Middle Passage history and heritage.

Hattie Mae Williams

A compassionate activist, Hattie Mae Williams uses art in a socially engaged, politically strategic and physical way, that connects community to "place." She reclaims and reframes spaces through site specific/context specific dance, film, photography and installations. She believes in taking chances through exposing what is already here in our environments and rich cultures, while acknowledging the past pulse of the people, place and surroundings. Hattie is drawn to describing the beauty and harshness of a place, the history that is erased, forgotten, retold or changed. She believes that social, racial, cultural and economic divides and institutional racist structures have paralyzed the humanitarian muscle in most of us.

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