Take a drive down South 3rd Street in Abilene’s iconic SoDA District, and you’ll find a fluorescent pink wall bearing a multicolored painting of an abstract face. This striking mural was created by local artist Anthia Nibizi, one of the artists to be featured in a special exhibit debuting at the Center for Contemporary Arts during Black History Month.
Born in Burundi, in East Africa, Nibizi and her family immigrated to Abilene 15 years ago, transplanting her burgeoning creative talents to the Texas Big Country. She graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2018 and has been an active presence in the local art scene, retaining an artist membership at The Center for Contemporary Arts and showing her work regionally.
Nibizi’s work brings a contemplative sophistication and keen sense of awareness of place and time, both past and present. Her creations invite reflection, celebration and offer a point of connection to all who experience her masterful artistry.
“I categorize my work as abstract portraiture,” Nibizi said. “I work with a combination of acrylic, oil, ink, and pastels. Currently, I am working on an untitled series of portraits exploring the fine line between reality and imagination. My work focuses on portraying black beauty, the uniqueness of our features inspires me.”
Inspired by the work and vision of artists such as Abe Odedina, Nina Chanel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gianni Lee, Kehinde Wiley, Cristina Martinez, and Honiee, Nibizi’s work and mission follows suit.
“In history, black artists weren’t shown as prominently as their white counterparts, so finding these artists that are not only thriving in the field, but also making way for young artists, inspires me to continue my work in knowing that my work has space in the art world.”
Nibizi said she is also inspired by the fact that she is part of a generation that has broken so many barriers and changed up the rules of the “game.”
“We have started this chain of holding people accountable for their actions,” she said. “From leading protests all over the world, protesting for our lives, discrimination of skin color, sexuality, and religion. Every day I am inspired to keep working and using my gifts on issues that are important to me, knowing that my voice matters.”
A selection of Nibizi’s work will be part of an exhibit featuring black artists from Abilene and the Texas region titled “A Better Tomorrow” on display Feb. 11-April 3 at The Center for Contemporary Arts.