Art is my life. It is the air I breathe. I often feel like it’s the only voice that I have. In my world it is the guaranteed way to get people to listen to me to anything I had to say. I was reminded of my fulfillment when I joined the Black Art Speaks movement in 2020 after painting the “Black Lives Matter!” street mural. As a black man in America, having a voice is one of the most important things to me. Wanting to be heard is all I ever desired because I’ve always had something important to say. So I have to find a way to be one of the people who influences change in America. I painted African American Experience to open people’s eyes as an attempt to express the sorrow of the everyday life of black men in the United States. It depicts a moment that we all can relate to. Most of us have had the same nightmare more than once in this country. Some of us don’t want to be a part of this country. I hope that this painting would make people who don’t experience our trauma the way we do feel something inside that would lighten their hearts and carry them to fight for what’s right. Perhaps they would put themselves in our shoes. I’m pushing for this to pay tribute to all the black men who not only lost their lives but also their freedom due to the hatred carried by brutal police officers.
Ke’Monte’ Figgs is a Cincinnati native who loves to depict the emotional experiences of his people through black art. Bringing an impact to the youth in his community and positively influencing children to discover their true potential by tapping into their hidden talents is what he hopes to accomplish. Whether it’s painting, writing poetry, singing, dancing, videography, music production he believes there are so many different pathways our black youth can turn to rather than the streets. Art has always been a part of him. As a kid, he found drawing and coloring entertaining. Growing up, he was nurtured by those who saw his potential and developed him into the artist he is today. Inspired by his high school teacher, Angela Mulchay he dreamed of attending Columbus College of Art and Design to be a cartoon animator. While, Figgs pursued a different path, eventually God “trampled’ on his course and reminding him of who he was created to be. Before he know it, he picked up a paint brush and began expressing himself with a voice that was heard like never before.