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Artist Biography

Delé Akerejah is a self taught mixed-media artist. Prior to receiving housing in 2012, he was homeless, an urban refugee, fighting street level homelessness, mental illness, poverty, and addiction. While working on developing the Dopamine Clinic, an artists collective, Delé had been evicted from Emory House, a work-bed shelter, because they didn't consider it "real" employment. After receiving housing, Delé transformed his newly obtained apartment into the visual arts studio now formally known as …The Dopamine Clinic. He previously worked as a vendor/artist with  Street Sense Media, a street newspaper in Washington, DC which focuses on elevating the voices of people experiencing homelessness. Recently Delé signed on as a studio aide and workshop instructor with Art Enables, “an Art Gallery and Vocational Arts program dedicated to creating opportunities for artists with disabilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling artwork.”

 

Delé had been living on the frigid streets with a band of fellow homeless people. The situation was tense and survival was feral. He found that his sanity had eroded to the point where he broke a window just to be arrested and experience a furlough from the streets indoors. Delé was hospitalized at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where he was encouraged to take art therapy, There he met a benevolent social worker by the name of Christine Litwa whose persistent efforts secured a housing voucher for him. Thanks to her, he is no longer a homeless person. Delé has been creating collages, pastels, drawings, artist books, and mixed-media paintings as well as writing original poems, stories, and essays ever since. While overseeing and promoting art shows with the Dopamine Clinic, Delé has participated in shows at the 201 Gallery with George Washington University, RAW Artists' DC and New York City pop-up galleries. In 2019 he began a working relationship with the government of the District of Columbia by being contracted for painting at high profile official events. Delé still maintains his relationship with Street Sense Media and can be called upon to teach workshops to working vendors, and has had many articles published about his artwork and the work of the Dopamine Clinic.

His primary influences are the artists Mark Bradford, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. His work also alludes to his boyhood pastime of playing with action figures. He doesn't adhere to any particular rules and deliberately employs ignorance of convention and academia in his technique, because in his words, "Art is the only thing I can move freely in within this regimented world.”