Spotlighting Emerging Artists Dion Prints, Andy Akangah, and North Moovment at the OAG

Exploring the stories, legacy, and experiences of forty years of hip-hop in the Ottawa–Gatineau region, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)’s current exhibition 83 ’til infinity celebrates the craft and values embedded in hip-hop’s five pillars, breaking, emceeing, DJ-ing, graffiti, and knowledge, and pays homage to the vibrant creativity, innovation, and traditions that shape this influential movement.

Presented by OAG and SHIFTER, and with support from RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Program and the City of Ottawa, the show recognizes the valuable contributions of past, present, and future artists, including the vibrant work of emerging artists such as Dion Prints and Andy Akangah whose works can be seen in the exhibition, as well as the street dance company Moov Ottawa Dance whose youth performance team North Moovment activated the exhibition’s opening reception.

Learn more about these artists below.

Images (left to right): Dion Prints, photo courtesy of the artist. Dion Prints, The Barbershop Series: Journey No. 4, 2022, digital photograph, 40.64 cm x 40.64 cm, Collection of the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Dion Prints

Dion Prints, a Haitian-Nigerian self-taught artist, uses photo-based media to form visual languages through scannography, typography and collage. Building from a paternal passion, at a young age Dion taught herself the art of video editing and photography. She later attended a technology-focused high school, inspiring her to further her skills in photography and design. As a Black artist, her main goal is to artistically showcase Black Canadian culture, particularly Black individuals in their natural, purest and joyful elements. Five works from Dion Prints’ The Barbershop Series, currently on view in the exhibition, illustrate the ways in which her “work is intended to exude a safe space and a sense of identity for the Black Canadian community.” She reflects, “to be able to showcase an important part of the hip-hop community while uplifting and embracing the journey of our black hair inspired me to spread the positivity of my community further.”

Images (left to right): Andy Akangah, photo: Sean Sisk. Installation view of Andy Akangah’s comic book 83 ‘til Infinity: There Will Be a Future, in the exhibition 83 ’til infinity: 40 years of Hip-Hop in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region at the Ottawa Art Gallery (July 8, 2023 to February 18, 2024), photo: OAG.

Andy Akangah

Andy Akangah, a self-taught published illustrator from Benin and living in Ottawa, is also part of the exhibition in which he created his first solo comic book, funded by the City of Ottawa. He is currently the CEO of a hip-hop inspired streetwear line called AKARTS COMICS. “My work as a comic book artist is deeply rooted in hip-hop culture, where I enjoy depicting hip-hop artists as superheroes due to their larger-than-life personas and compelling stories,” Akangah notes. “I was excited to translate these narratives into a comic book format, chronicling 40 years of hip-hop in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and it’s my hope that these stories continue to be elevated and built upon in many more ways.” Captivated by the art styles in comic books (manga and anime), he decided to combine these genres with his love of hip-hop. His designs are well known for their bold colors, pop culture references, and unique details, and he has worked with notable clients such as the NBA, Microsoft, Complex, AT&T, and Esquire. His comic book 83 ‘til Infinity: There Will Be a Future can also now be found at the OAG Shop.

Images (left to right): North Moovment, photo courtesy of Alea de Castro. North Moovment performs at the OAG, July 8, 2023, photo: Lindsay Ralph / OAG.

North Moovment

Reflecting the ongoing dynamic role of hip-hop in this region, 83 ’til infinity will be activated in a variety of ways throughout its time at the OAG, including through the hip-hop pillar of Break dance. Under the guidance of Moov Ottawa Dance, a professional Street Dance company created by Alea de Castro and Arnaldo Betancourt Silva, who specialize in Hip-Hop, Waacking, House, Breaking and other Street and Club Dance styles, North Moovment is a youth training and performance team who performed at the exhibition’s opening in early July. Currently made up of dancers Gracie Lister, Niara Negeste-Read, Melissa Adoue, Brianna Pimentel, Jade Bertrand, and Gabriella Santini, North Moovment brought vibrant energy to the space and highlighted dance through the opening celebration. Training with de Castro and Silva, Moov Ottawa Dance offers the dancers guidance and a creative outlet, and while some specialize in other genres like contemporary, breaking, and acro, they train within Street Dance with Moov. Together, they frequently perform across the city with recent engagements at the OAG, House of PainT Festival, and for Atlético Ottawa, among others.

Thrilled to spotlight artists, the RBC Foundation’s support enables the OAG to continue its mission of supporting emerging Ottawa-Gatineau artists with guidance through exhibition and acquisitions opportunities, mentorship, career growth, and funding. 83 ’til infinity will continue to activate the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition.

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OAG is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.