Baruti Tucker is an artist and business owner in Augusta, GA. Born in Staten Island, New York he moved to Augusta, GA in May of 2011. He has had a passion for creating since the age of 12, when he and his friends would draw comic books in their free time. He has shown his work all over NYC and Georgia. His works reside in many private collections.
Baruti considers himself more like a law professor that writes dissertations on critical blackness theory, centered around the struggles and healing in blackness. He often creates themes in his works that depict people of predominantly African descent in environments that complement their existential potency on a global level.
“Imagine Fredrick Douglas as an artist painting his vision of freedom. He is not only placing himself in the future but has expressed the need to have one.” Baruti says. “My experience as an artist has been a timeline of community love, and hard social lessons.”
Believe it or not, Baruti didn’t begin painting until he was an adult in college. Working through his reservations and intimidations with the medium as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, NY, Baruti soon discovered paint was a medium he enjoyed working with. Especially when he used his “Ahfingah” method (using his hands, instead of a brush).
He began testing painting with his fingers as a student at FIT. Baruti found it hard to hold a brush without his had cramping. After working this way on several artworks, Baruti found he felt a better connection to his creations. “It’s meditative and it’s only time I feel FREE.”
His father encouraged him to to draw his hands if he wanted to get better at figure work. Baruti would draw a finger a month. This gave him a better understanding of line, shape, detail, values of light and dark. He sees the cyclical nature in this practice as he now paints with his fingers. He considers this Ahfingah method of painting as a type of drawing, as a result of the discipline of his father’s teachings.
Baruti’s father and sister have always been an inspiration in his work as an artist. His father works in pencil and ink, creating renderings of landscapes and religious figures. His sister, though a talented visual artist in her youth, was drawn to music and is a songstress.
Another singer that has had an influence on Baruti’s work and life is the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. His organization, NUBAG derives from the song “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” by the late James Brown.
NUBAG stands for the New Urban Blackness Guild. It is comprised of creatives of predominant African descendant. This group is open to all artists including visual artist, singers, musicians, fashion designers, graphic designers, dancers, poets, spoken word artists, models, photographers, rug designers, screen writers and authors. This group accomplishes community outreach with other organizations and events such as J.A.M.P., Arts in the Heart of Augusta, Golden Blocks Project/ Laney Walker Museum of Black History and the KUUMBA Art Market. The artists of Nubag have had exhibitions and events such as the Art and Soul exhibit, the First Inaugural Afrofuture exhibit, as well as a Women’s History Month exhibit titled SHE’S SO DOPE.
They have recently been contracted to paint a mural at Hornsby Middle School and are planning an upcoming Afro Intelligence arts exhibit for Sunday February 26th starting at 4:00pm at Humanitree House, which Baruti co-owns with his wife Denise.
When asked what is something he was most proud of, Baruti responded:
“Coming to Augusta, Ga and marrying Denise Tucker is an EVENT I’m most proud of because I am truly living the life that I dreamed of having as an artist. A holistic lifestyle entrepreneurship and a creative loving village.”
Part of growing a creative village is sharing and showcasing your passions in order to find your community. Affectionately called “Brother B” by many of his colleagues, students and friends, Baruti not only has a passion for art, he is committed to working with young people as a youth mentor. He founded S.T.R.O.N.G. ROOTS; a mentoring program that captures the minds and spirit of young men in the community in 1999 (under the name Brother2Brother, and has resumed its programming in Augusta.
Recently, Bartui and wife Denise Tucker signed on with the Greater Augusta Arts Council as an arts partner for Promenade & Paint Augusta’s Public Art. This is part of an ongoing group effort with Destination Augusta called the Authentic Augusta Project. Humanitree will host 8-12 public art tour guests, lead by local guid Michael Wolff, twice a month. Guests will enjoy a refreshing cold pressed juice before learning about what it takes to create great public art from Humanitree’s owner and resident artist: Baruti himself. Guests will be giving a mural crash-course and get to put their own stamp on Augusta as they paint a portion of a mural designed by Baruti. This experience will launch with several other Authentic Augusta experiences in April 2023. You can find more info, or pre-purchase tickets here.