The Ikouii Creative dedicated its 2nd book, INSIDE THEIR STUDIO: Deaf & Disabled Artists Reshaping the Arts to two artists for their contributions to the disability arts landscape in the United States and the United Kingdom. These artists have championed the rights of people with disabilities and helped reshape the arts, thus why we are giving them their much deserved flowers with this dedication. Please read on to learn a glimpse about each artist and their contributions.

Angelo Micheal Butler-Ricks, a founding member of The Ikouii Creative, was an accomplished actor, dancer, choreographer, songwriter, and ASL performance artist. Angelo founded the groundbreaking performance art event  ASL Jams Night Atlanta, which invited American sign language users and viewers from all corners of life to enjoy a night of poetry, comedy, and skits.

Deaf since the age of 7, Angelo was a native of Jacksonville, FL and graduate of the University North of Florida (UNF). He resided in Atlanta and worked at Georgia State University, made many contributions at various organizations such as the Georgia Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Ikouii Creative. He was featured in the first edition of the Ikouii Book Project, INSIDE THEIR STUDIO: Artists with Disabilities & Their Collaborators. Angelo passed away in August 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lizzie Emeh was a pioneering award-winning singer/songwriter and disability rights activist. She described her sound as “eclectic with lots of soul”. Lizzie made history when she released her debut album Loud and Proud and became the first solo artist with a learning disability to release an album of original songs in the UK. In 2012, Lizzie performed at the Summer Paralympics opening ceremony. She continued making her mark in the music industry, winning two national awards, performing across the UK and Europe and releasing three more EPs – The Clan, My Baboo and Meds (out in Spring 2019).

Lizzie had collaborated with a number of songwriters and musicians in a unique creative process to create her music. These include Charles Stuart (musical director for Grace Jones) and Robbie Fordjour (drummer for Courtney Pine’s band). Other collaborators include Arthur Lea, Bobbie-Jane Gardner, JB Rose and Grace Savage. Lizzie’s EP ‘Meds’ looked at Lizzie’s experience of mental health and how she gained back control of her own life. Lizzie Emeh was a key artist at creative arts organisation Heart n Soul.

Lizzie Emeh was a featured artist in the “VISIBILITY: A Selection of Black Deaf and Disabled Performance Artists” exhibition at Ikouii in February 2021. She passed away in the United Kingdom at the age of 44 in November 2021.

There will be a book reading and signing at Oglethorpe University Art Museum on Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 1PM-3PM. The Ikouii Creative requests your attendance as we celebrate the release of the book and the many contributions artists living with disabilities have made to reshape the arts. RSVP HERE.