There are still some artists left who do it for love, whose voices speak to so many because they take the time to listen. Unbound by conventions of beauty and being, Saddi Khali is one such artist.
Khali’s faithful walk from writer to producer and image evangelist is marked by trials and transience. Displaced overnight by Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans native returned unsheltered and untethered to his beloved community of 30 years. Khali lost a lifetime of artifacts and keepsakes, departing with bare means, memories and a budding love for photography. For Khali’s new work to signify reframing one’s narrative, he first reframed his own, repurposing his circumstance to a calling. Khali soon found beauty in losing everything, in letting go, in coming to the realization that in spite of all this… “I’m okay.” His ascension is not a portrait of loss, but a portrait of faith and faith’s labors.
Nine years removed, Khali’s photography has now been featured in magazines such as ESSENCE, and on the covers of a number of books, like Random House’s TRIKSTA. As the favorite artist of many discerning collectors, Khali has featured in exhibitions worldwide, including Rush Arts Gallery in New York and the Coast Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2014, Saddi Khali was Polk State College’s inaugural Artist-In-Residence and coproduced the historical fantasy short film ASE shot on location in Nigeria.
An acclaimed poet and performer, Saddi has also featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Apollo Theater’s Salon Series, and is published in over 30 anthologies and journals.
Crediting traditions that are distinctly southern, yet unapologetic in their aesthetic, Khali continues to craft a bold and brash brand of art and arts practice through his exploration of vulnerability and courage -inviting viewers to welcome the possibilities that arise when they choose both.
It is through this listening lens that Khali stakes claim to a healing arts renaissance, which fearlessly intends the restoration of black love and black beauty.