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Akron Art Library

Lauren Mckenzie-Noel - Twins - 2018

Darius Steward - Baggage Claim (Rise), Sketch - Watercolor on paper 6 1/2 x 14 in.

About the Artist

Darius Steward
American, born 1984, Cleveland, Ohio;
Lives Cleveland, Ohio

With watercolor against a stark white background, Darius Steward depicts the physical and figurative weight that urban African American families carry as they move forward in a broken system. Using his immediate family as subjects and symbols, Steward memorializes his mother and childhood in the 2017 series Baggage Claim. In this sketch for Baggage Claim (Rise), Steward paints his son as a stand-in for his younger self, surrounded by the physical and metaphorical baggage that Steward has carried throughout his life. Other paintings from the series pay homage to Steward’s mother, Rhonda V., who recognized her son’s artistic talent and worked multiple jobs to support his dreams and provide for her family.

Baggage Claim (Rise) has been exhibited in the 2017 exhibitions Constant as the Sun at MOCA Cleveland and Baggage Claim at Tregoning & Company, located at the 78th Street Studios in Cleveland.

Darius Steward is the recipient of the 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize, Emerging Artist Award. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Akron Art Museum, Canton Museum of Art and Cleveland Clinic, among many other local, regional and national collections. In 2018, Steward created two large public murals, Breaker of Chains, a monumental mural for the RTA in Cleveland as well as Support on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.

To view more work by Darius Steward, visit: or follow on Instagram @dariusart216