Rhonda Gray is a visual artist who works in oil, acrylics, specially papers, sand, sequins, molding compounds and mixed media. Through her company Rhonda Gray Art Worldwide, Inc., she offers a variety of culturally conscious, creative magical realism portraits mural. The subjects in her portraits reflect personal journey and are inspired by spiritual mysticism and the critical ideology of African Womanism. This theory exemplifies self-naming, self-defining, culture-keeping, family-centering, spiritual grounding, liberation activism, and empowering multidimensional Africana womanhood.
In the short span of 10 years that Rhonda has worked as a professional artist, many private collectors have acknowledged her talents and purchased her art in the United States, and internationally in countries such as England, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Poland, France, Ireland and Germany. Additionally, celebrities such as Vanessa Williams, Donna Richardson Joyner, Irma P. Hall (Big Mama from the film Soul Food) and Grammy-nominated singer/song writer Lalah Hathaway and Kelly Price have also included Rhonda's art in their private collections.
In her hometown of Chicago- a Mecca for the arts- Rhonda was honored as the featured artist during the 30th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival in 2008 where one her musically inspired paintings was used as the official design image. In 2015, she was selected as the featured artist of the Lake Meadows Art Fair in Chicago, IL. Her work has been exhibited in many venues, including juried art shows, festivals, and distinguished galleries such as the DuSable Museum of African American History, University of Illinois- Chicago, South Shore Cultural Center, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Zhou B Art Center, Gallery Guichard, Griffin Gallery, Grant Park, Millennium Park and the Drake Hotel.
A dedicated educator, Rhonda has taught art and history in Chicago area schools for several years. She earned her B.A degree in history education in 2002 from the University of Northern Iowa and M.A. degree in history from Chicago State University. Rhonda currently teaches African History, US History, and African American History at Triton College in River Grove, IL. She also facilitates after school painting and mural programs with students ranging from grades K-12 through partnerships with Columbia College, Chicago Black History Museum, the Love Institute, After School Matters, DuSable Museum, etc.
Artist Statement Heading link
The subjects in my work reflect my personal journey and are inspired by spirituality and the critical ideology of Africana Womanism. This powerful theory exemplifies self-naming, self-defining, culture-keeping, family-centering, spiritual grounding, liberation activism, and empowering multidimensional Africana Womanhood. Cultural womanism is a concept for all women to consider, no matter the race or ethnicity. For centuries, black women of the African diaspora have persevered through dehumanizing conditions which has shaped their uniqueness, ability to survive and harness personal power. Through the power of imagery, this series of mixed media paintings works to capture the strength, courage, hurt, pain, beauty and spirit of these women.
Through the use of mixed media such as oil, acrylic, fabric, paper, sequins, sand, yarn, etc., I can communicate my soul in the creation of vibrant – storytelling, history teaching, thought provoking, soul touching portraits.