Artist Bios

Akwi Nji

Akwi is an artist creating in words, performance, and visual art. She specializes in creative personal narrative storytelling across artistic mediums and through producing and curating community-focused arts programming. Her work and words have appeared on stage from California’s Wine Country to New York’s Fashion Week.

Akwi has served as an arts ambassador in multiple roles including as founding executive director of The Hook; an Iowa Arts Council board member; producer of nearly 100 events in recent years, involving more than 300 writers and performers; and advisor of Arts Midwest initiatives.

Her art serves as manifestations of her exploration of race, gender, Black history as American history, and a parallelism of current social issues with their historical and cultural counterparts, tensions between the ‘outsider’ and ‘insider’, and concepts of spiritual and geographic home. As a writer, voice artist, performer, and producer her collaborative partners include Emmy-award winning composers and nationally-renowned dancers and choreographers. She has been an Iowa Arts Council Fellow and, for her efforts in the business community, she was named one of Corridor Business Journal’s Forty Under 40. 

Akwi was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and raised in Cameroon, Africa. Her experiences as a Cameroonian American inform her work as artist and advocate. She lives in the Midwest with her two daughters, the family dog, and her daughters’ cats.

Website: // Connect on IG: @akwinji

Eia Radosavljevic

Following her career as a ballet, jazz and modern dancer, Eia Radosavljevic received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and Millinery Certification from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she studied couture design under renowned milliner Janine Galimard from the Paris couture house Balenciaga. Eia Millinery Design opened in New York in 1991 and moved to Chicago in 1995.

As faculty at School of the Art Institute of Chicago for over two decades, Eia has assembled one of the most comprehensive millinery programs in the United States, comprising five courses in headwear design and millinery embellishment, and founded SAIC’s annual Headwear Awards in honor of Chicago milliner Raymond Hudd.

Her work explores foundational traditions of millinery methodology and materials. Precisely due to its current obsolescence, communicative power is immanent in the hat as an art object, bringing a transcendent timelessness into the action of wearing. Questions of subjectivity and identity arise in placing a sculptural object on the human head. Moreover, placing sculptural objects with headwear historiography into interior architectural locations raises a different but related set of observations and queries.

In 2019 Eia was invited to join  the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster. She lectures, teaches and exhibits internationally, most recently in Australia and Estonia. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals and exhibitions, and is published in the books 500 Felt Objects and Drawing Fashion Accessories. Additionally, her work as photographer has been produced numerous times by the Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop.
Connect on IG: @eiahats
Read Eia’s blog

Elizabeth Burden

Elizabeth is a multidisciplinary artist  blending studio work with social practice.  Her use drawing, painting, sculpture, video, coding, mapping, and other media and processes. Her recent work focuses on three interrelated themes: (1) geographies, space, and place; (2) contemporary state and societal violences; (3) legacies and vestiges of history and historical trauma. Whether created through studio practice or through community-engaged process, the common thread that runs through all her work is to look at old narratives anew, to confront, reflect upon, shape, and transform.

In 2019, she was artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Arts Institute (Truth and Reconciliation Residency), and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Trainings for the Not Yet). This year,  she is honored to be participating in the Project All Voices Fellowship  at Arizona State University.

Ms. Burden holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Studio Art, and a master’s degree in Geographic Information Science.
Connect on IG: @burdenelizabeth

Sarah Bricke

Sarah is an artist, researcher, and writer working in and across installation, sculpture, objects and imagery, performative lecture, critical theory, and concrete poetry. Her work addresses a broad range of contemporary themes and concerns, including patriarchy and oppression, interpersonal and sexual violence, and reproductive justice. The representation of the female icon is a recurring theme in her work; she seeks to reinterpret those icons through a feminist lens. Her work often utilizes fragmentary pieces or remains that can be taken apart and reconstructed, transferred into different forms, or become part of new cycles. 

She lives and works in San Diego, California and is a frequent traveler to art sites nationally and internationally. She is pursuing her MFA at the School of the Art Institute Chicago and is currently working on several projects in addition to Baby Driver: including The Other Side of Nowhere, a long-term documentation of the Salton Sea and environs, and Longing, a book about art in the ruins of the built environment.

Connect on IG: @sarahbricke

Read Sarah’s blog: