written by Angela N. Carroll, Bmore Art, September 14, 2017
Visitors will first encounter Tariku’s “Black Diamonds & Pearls (Blackalicious)” a work that exalts hip hop culture—every painting in the larger series is named after a classic hip hop album. The song “Black Diamonds & Pearls” by Blackalicious is a rallying affirmation, a profoundly inspirational and motivating anthem. The chorus proclaims:
Keep on, keep going, march on, move on, keep blowin’ it up
Keep ON, keep going, march on, move on,
Stay strong, keep going, keep blowin’ it up
There are similarities in the way hip hop culture inspires Tariku’s work and jazz resoundingly influenced the action paintings of Jackson Pollock. Both paint the gestural reaction of the artists body as it responds to the music as a visual mark. “Diamonds & Pearls” is a minimal abstract reimagining of the song; the music is visualized with six black rectangular bars and color. Broad strokes of bright blue paint roughly render diamond-esque shapes across the center of the plastic canvas. The black bars overlay the blue. I appreciated the wit of Tariku’s homage; the stacked black bars, “bars on bars,” are a colloquial inference to lyrical mastery.
Tariku Shiferaw, Black Diamonds and Pearls