Profile: Talle Bamazi

Talle Bamazi is an artist based in Columbus, Ohio, who, through his own work, his years as a curator and gallery owner, and as a mentor of younger artists, has been influential in raising the visibility of local African and African-American artists.

Born in northern Togo (West Africa), into the Kabiye ethnic group, Bamazi began his artistic career as an apprentice to his uncle, a traditional Togolese artist. Although he studied architecture in Lomé, he rapidly returned to painting and developed his own distinctive style bridging traditional African and contemporary modern art. After moving to the United States he studied at the Art Students League of New York and earned an MFA at the New York Academy of Art. He is currently the lead artist-in-residence at the King Arts Complex, where his monumental series of life-sized portraits of Columbus-area black artists, formerly featured at the Columbus Museum of Art, now hangs in the historic Pythian theater.

KIACA Gallery

From 2004 until 2011, Bamazi operated a gallery called KIACA (Kabiye Impact Contemporary African Art), which was the only black-owned gallery in Columbus’ noted arts’ district, the Short North, and one of the few black-owned galleries in the city. KIACA served as an influential talent incubator for many Columbus-area African and African-American artists, including psycheñwelic painter April Sunami.

Awards and Honors

Bamazi was recognized, alongside MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Aminah Robinson, at the 27th Annual King Arts Center Gala in 2014.


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