Fritz Massaquoi (mass-ah-koi) is a resident multi-media artist in the Emporium and a fixture in Knoxville’s arts community. A self-taught painter and textile artist, he works in batik, tie-dye, weaving, painting, printmaking, and handmade papers. His works have been collected and exhibited internationally.
The son of West African royalty, Massaquoi relocated to the United States in 1990 due to civil war in his home country of Liberia. His colorful paintings, prints, and weavings capture vivid recollections of idyllic West African landscapes, and daily life. The places, people, and events depicted often feature bold silhouettes and imagery portrayed as if through the filter of distant memory. Other works take the form of lyrical, atmospheric abstractions inspired by Massaquoi’s extensive experience as a modern dancer. He builds each composition intuitively, and often adds other materials to his acrylic pigments in order to enhance surface textures.