901 Now: Whitehaven native hosts art exhibit to spread joy

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 7:11 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Whitehaven native is back home exhibiting his artwork, for the first time ever, to bring joy to the community through his pop-up exhibit that highlights celebrities, athletes, and local faces in the 901.

Art has always been an outlet for artist Mohamed Fofana to let his imagination flow.

“There was just freedom, I just wanted to create,” Fofana said. “It made me feel good, it allowed me to dream, it allowed me to connect to the world how I saw it.”

Fofana said his artwork tells his life story.

“When I was little and I first moved to America, Memphis, Tennessee, I didn’t speak English, I didn’t have many friends, I spent a lot of time drawing,” Fofana explained.

Now, those drawings, dating back to his younger years, that he once considered private, are now on display to the public.

“I want to do a show, to show people this artwork,” Fofana said. “To show, ‘look where I started and look where I am.’ I don’t know where I’m going but there’s progress in just going for something.”

Work at Mohamed Fofana's art gallery
Work at Mohamed Fofana's art gallery(Action News 5)

The exhibit, S Journey Home, is a collection of his diverse artwork from 2003 to now. Using art as a segue to showcase experiences and highlighting the people of Memphis.

“My art is to tell people’s story that I know, people from where I’m from,” he said. “I wanted to do that so they could see themselves. In a sense, kind of validates their living experience. Like you matter, you can be art.”

In his journey home, he only has one mission.

“When I first started making my art, it was just for me. It wasn’t for money, it wasn’t for approval, it just made me happy,” Fofana said. “It brought me joy and when I started sharing a little bit with other people, I saw that it brought them joy as well. So it kind of shifted my perspective and how I saw my art and the purpose became to bring happiness to other people.”

Fofana’s work will be on display until Saturday at the Medicine Factory.

To schedule an appointment for a tour, click here.

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