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Art-Abilities Artists

Kemi Yemi-Ese

Artist Statement

It is the human condition to explore, to seek excellence, and to create. The physical limitations we experience don’t always deter our endeavors but can inspire us to defy seemingly insurmountable odds. When you acknowledge the presence of the infinite within you, you then become drawn to the things that reflect and echo those boundless circumstances. In 2006, I was involved in a car accident that resulted in paralysis in most of my body. Being an artist with a physical disability has taught me much about inner strength and has given me a deeper insight regarding limitations. Every living thing has limits whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. In my experience, these limitations are not as indomitable as they appear, and I seek to test the strength of my own limitations through my art.  The emotions and stories that I paint are inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit. The subjects are established as forces to be reckoned with. Even the more stoic figures radiate with the confidence of a person who will fulfil their purpose no matter what obstacles may be in their path. My current work explores resiliency further as it relates to culture and identity. I encourage audiences to reflect on their own experience while engaging with my art pieces.

Artist Bio

Nigerian-American visual artist, Kemi Yemi-Ese, resides in Austin, Texas and has shown her art nationally as well as in and around the Austin area. Focusing on oil and acrylic mediums, Kemi creates engaging and bold art pieces. Most recently, her work is on display at Austin City Hall as part of the 2019 People’s Gallery Exhibition.  Following a near tragic car accident in 2006, Kemi became paralyzed and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Her art reflects the struggles and triumphs that living with a disability entail through imagery that is relatable. While vibrant, her artwork is also thoughtful and often challenges representations of mobility, gender, beauty, race, and divinity. Her current work is heavily inspired by her Nigerian heritage blending dynamic and contemplative portraits with cultural exploration.

Monique Janette

Artist Bio

Monique Jannette is a native Dallasite, whose background is not your typical artist. She competed nationally and internationally in springboard and platform diving until she broke her neck cliff diving at the age of 17. After her accident she continued a life of sports in a wheelchair and became a two-time Paralympian in 1988 Seoul, Korea and 1992 Barcelona, Spain, while receiving a BS in Geology from UTA and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from SMU. Monique worked as a Volcanologist to next a practicing attorney in criminal and civil law. 

Artist Statement

As an artist, Monique is an autodidact but her work reveals a rich and imaginative inner narrative. She states “I am a self-taught artist that is drawn to expressing humankind’s most intimate emotions to capturing nature's beauty in bizarre ways. My paintings embrace diverse styles from surrealism to abstract and commonly polymorphs disparate images. Often times my work is both narrative and mysterious creating a mélange of tranquility, wonderment, humor, passion, and even horror that arouses the eye and heart”.Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions and solo exhibits throughout the North Texas region.

Edie Bakker

The daughter of missionaries, Edie Bakker has been pursuing art since she was a child in Papua New Guinea where she was raised. Most of her sculptures were made in college in Michigan. In 1989, Edie went back to Papua New Guinea and led two National Geographic Expeditions. In 1991, at age 31, she became severely mentally ill and learned that she had Bipolar-Disorder as well as Dissociative Identity Disorder. She had had these disabilities for her entire life, but they became overwhelming and life-threatening throughout her 30s and 40s. When she finally got both under control, she became physically disabled due to a foot which was deformed from growing up barefoot in the jungle and severe arthritis. She has now written four books and a screenplay, which has been accepted by a film company. She continues to pursue painting and crochet amigurumi. The cover of her memoir is one of her paintings.

Charlie French

Hello!  My name is Charlie French.  Yes, I have Down syndrome, but I don't want to talk about that.  I don't want you to see that.  I want you to see me, Charlie French.  Just Charlie French.

Then I want you to see my ART!  I am an artist, an abstract artist.  I have my very own art studio in Dallas, Texas.  I love it!  I love painting with all kinds of colors and shapes, and making art about my favorite foods, but also storms, water, and stuff.  I hope you like what you see.  And if you want a special painting just for you, then please email me. I love commissions!!!

Joe Fernandez

My name is Joe Fernandez, but I go by my artist name jRockStar or jRock for short. I'm 34 years old and from Dallas, Texas. I've have been tattooing for 11 years and am the proud father of 3 which is the main reason I work as hard as I do. 

Zach Lewis

Born with Spina Bifida, Zach works is either with an  acrylic paint pen or fine detail brush in producing his pieces.

Grant Manier

Emerging as one of the most notable young artists of the new millennium, Grant Maniér (maun-yay), a young talented Eco-Artist combines his two worlds: autism and art. His obsession with paper became his form of art therapy. Grant is changing the perceptions of how to reduce, reuse, and recycle by creating extraordinary collages using thousands of pieces of recycled calendars, magazines, posters, puzzles and more. From an owl made from movie posters to dolphins crafted with applesauce lids, Grant is raising the awareness and beauty of recycling.


Today, Grant is an award-winning artist and advocate, capturing the attention of national media and being honored with awards multiple times for his Eco-impressionism as well as his outstanding contribution to the community. Grant brings his visual art exhibit and literacy program into schools and organizations, teaching the importance of environmental responsibility through his art and new children’s book series: Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe and friends. 


He also supports great causes and has raised thousands of dollars for student scholarships, therapy, camps, and more.

Whether an admirer or owner of an Eco-original or print, people love his art, his story, and that he stands for “HOPE”.

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