Liberian Artist off to Dayton, Ohio for Art Residency

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The Dayton Sister City Committee (DSCC) in conjunction with the Dayton Society of Artists (DSA) is pleased to host international artist, Patrick Gono, from Monrovia, Liberia, one of Dayton’s six sister cities. Gono will be the first artist-in-residence for the Dayton Society of Artists and will have studio space at the Front Street Building Co. Gono will be in Dayton for the majority of July, 2019 and will have an exhibit of his work in the DSA’s Project Space at their High Street Gallery beginning July 5.

Gono is a self-taught artist, inspired early in his childhood by cartoon characters namely from the Marvel and Disney corporations. His passion for art got him in trouble to the point of failing sixth grade, but that would not hold him back for long and he received a double promotion in his eighth year of school. As he grew, he found inspiration in nature and artists that came before him such as Renoir and Rossetti. He won the Value of Biodiversity art competition held at the US Embassy in Monrovia in 2011.

Gono now lives in Monrovia, creating hyper-realistic pieces and desires to make a name for Liberia and its people through his art.

Artist-in-residence programs give artists the opportunity to live and work outside of their usual environments, providing them with time to reflect, research, or produce work. During a residency, artists can explore new locations, different cultures, and experiment with different materials.

“Being selected for the artist-in-residence for the DSCC and the DSA is like the final picture of my dream of bringing light to show the colors of peace we need to shine and prosper, to show the power and bond of art, and to help others discover their true potential,” Gono said. When asked about how he felt about the opportunity to be the artist-in-residence he answered, “This is truly a dream come true… As I am the bridge between two cities now, my aim is to make sure my pillars and cables and concrete are solid so as to ensure a lifelong connection between Dayton and Monrovia.”

Dayton, through the DSCC, has been a sister city of Monrovia since 1972; however, this relationship has been dormant for over six years. Recently a renewed interest in Monrovia, led by the DSCC Monrovian Chair, Mr. Thomas F. Siafa, Sr., has brought forth the partnership with the Dayton Society of Artists, which led to the artist-in-residency program. Thomas Siafa works for the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority, now doing business as Greater Dayton Premier Management, as a Safety and Compliance Officer. Siafa has resided in the Dayton areas for over twenty-nine years, and for the love of his native land, Liberia, he visits Monrovia frequently on mission trips.

While Gono is in Dayton, he will exhibit his work in the High Street Gallery’s Project Space alongside the DSA’s show Crossing Boundaries. Both will open July 5 from 6-9pm. The gallery is open from 12-5pm Friday and Saturday as well as being open on First Fridays from 6-9pm. The gallery is located at 48 High Street in Dayton.

Nineteen artists from Monrovia applied for the residency. Friend of the DSCC, Ed Dixon, has compiled some of the artwork of other artists who were not selected, which can be found at https://eadgallery.com/2019/04/21/art-from-our-sister-city-monrovia/.

The DSA and DSCC will also be collecting art supplies, which are scarce and more expensive in Liberia than they are in the US, to send back to Monrovia with Gono. To make a donation of supplies to send to Monrovia, folks are asked to kindly contact Amanda Grieve, Gallery Director of the DSA, at 937-228-4532 or by email at [email protected].

The Dayton Society of Artists has been serving local artists since 1938 and their mission is to connect, support, and educate artists and the community.

The mission of the Dayton Sister City Committee is to provide community leadership, promote Dayton internationally, and to increase global awareness of Dayton residents through developing and maintaining active Sister City relationships.

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