Artist Marva Ayoka Harris

Be sure to watch the video she created, which marries Marva’s spoken word piece with her art in a series of powerful statements:

After viewing the video, return to her wonderful exhibition!

Artist Statement:

My history as a painter, as with many, started with those wonderful fingerpaints in grade school. I remember loving the feeling I had while playing with the color red  on a paper.  There was something powerful about knowing my hand could manipulate such a powerful energy… color! As life would have it, visual art would not take a seat in my life again until December 2020. Painting flooded my life unexpectedly as a healer during a very difficult time. I was given a gift of an easel, paint set and paintbrushes for my birthday on December 14th, 2020. The pieces that you will see in this show chronicles  my thoughts, reflections and feelings about 2020, and my life in general from the point of receiving this “gift” only 2 short months ago. I do believe that this gift has always been in me as it has in many of my family members, for many generations. 

I would consider myself primarily an abstract artist because of the freedom, mystery and emotion I feel while painting and beholding this type of art. I primarily work with acrylic and oil but have also enjoyed oil pastels. My paintings are usually on stretched canvas or heavy  art paper.

In the future I hope to continue producing arts for personal expression, mindfulness, therapeutic experience and creating dialogue that will guide others to their own realizations, thoughts and feelings. I will be curating a family art collection to highlight the work of artists in my family who share a powerful trait of creativity in the visual and performing arts. I will be curating this collection with hopes of creating a discussion around how race, culture, and economics impact the visibility and contribution of African American Artists to the cannon of masterful and world renown works of art.

My Art show  entitled : “ I Know Why…” discusses  the majors Whys in my life: Why I am here, Why I am not going to give up, why I am proud, why I feel the way I do, why I get out of bed every day, etc. The collection’s name is based upon my favourite poem, by the sheer creative force that is called Dr. Maya Angelou. When I read the poem “I know why the caged bird sings” at the age of 12, I remember feeling grateful for Dr. Maya putting into words what I pondered in my own life. Why does a caged bird sing? In 2020 I felt caged  by  isolation and freed at the same time. This collection allowed me to see, feel and hear my own song.

The artwork in this exhibition can also be viewed as consisting of four collections or series:

1: “Frequency”, which creatively conveys various types of waves lengths  through the lens of emotions  sound, rhythm, color and intensity

2. “Homage” a tribute to my culture as an African American and Woman

3: “ Flights of Fancy” whimsical expression of energy, nature and light

4 ” Feel Me!” abstract and photograph collection about human emotions, love, hardship and hope


Return to the Main Exhibition Page for I Know Why.

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