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Art on Arkansas Lines Up New Guests

Arkansas Arts Council - Friday, October 23, 2020

Join Drekkia Morning for “Art on Arkansas,” our biweekly, Facebook livestream, to discover new and established artists and arts programs in Arkansas. The next two shows will feature artist Adaja Cooper and photographer Ed Drew, both of Little Rock.

1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28


Adaja CooperAdaja Cooper creates emotionally charged paintings that capture the joy of the Black experience. The 20-year-old artist experiments with acrylics, oils and charcoal to create her immersive art.

Cooper uses her talent to pay tribute to prominent Black figures in history and people whose story may not be well known. She has won regional and national awards for her artwork and currently has her work on display, including a mural on Seventh Street in Little Rock. Cooper is a student at Hendrix College, where she plans to major in Visual Art.

See more of Cooper's work at https://www.adajacooperstudio.com/.

1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 


Ed DrewPhotographer Ed Drew picked up his first camera at age 16, after his father died, and spent time learning the art of storytelling through photography. His current work focuses on capturing the essence of people who are often overlooked or underrepresented in society.

Drew grew up in Brooklyn and joined the military after high school. He served six years of active duty in the Air Force and was assigned to Tokyo until the end of his enlistment. While in Japan, he discovered a passion for art and the distinctive aesthetics derived from the Japanese culture.

In 2009, Drew joined the California Air National Guard as a Combat Search and Rescue helicopter gunner. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 and created his first body of artwork there by using a large-format camera to capture portraits in the field. His haunting work gained the attention of news media, museums, galleries and collectors.

Drew earned a BFA in sculpture with a minor in photography from San Francisco Art Institute while still in the Air National Guard. He studied under photographers Linda Connor, Lonnie Graham and Henry Wessel, Jr.

His work centers on historical references of varying cultures through portraiture with an emphasis on a wide range of photographic processes and compositional dialogue. His current exhibition at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center juxtaposes art, time spans and racial trajectories in Arkansas. The exhibit, “We Hold These Truths: American Veterans of Arkansas” spotlights 30 African American veterans through tintype, a Civil War-era photography technique, as well as letters from Civil War soldiers and military artifacts.

Some of Drew’s Afghanistan photos are part of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s permanent collection and is part of the Progressive Art Collection. His work has been featured in publications, including The New Yorker, PBS and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His work will be included in the Veterans Day virtual celebration hosted by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center on Facebook Live on Nov. 11.

Drew currently resides in Little Rock with his wife and five children. Find more of his work at https://eddrew.net/.


About Art on Arkansas

Drekkia MorningDrekkia Morning, Arts in Education Programs manager with the Arkansas Arts Council, will explore the depths of art and artists in Arkansas via candid, biweekly livestreams. The live interviews will be on the main Facebook page of the Arkansas Arts Council.

Drekkia Morning has been an active performing poet for most of her life. She is the author of the poetry book, “17 Mirrors,” which was published in 2019. She has taught students poetry and creative writing in schools, founded an organization that provided a platform for artists to monetize their talents and helped organize events to spotlight social justice issues. She is a champion of the arts community and the arts in Arkansas and aims to give all Arkansans the opportunity to learn from, heal with and make a living from the arts. She joined the staff of the Arkansas Arts Council in 2019.

For more information, contact Drekkia.Morning@Arkansas.gov.