Exclusive Visual Art Exhibit Opening April 29 at Phillips

OVERVIEW: “Halim Flowers – Something New, Black Birds (2121)” is a solo exhibit of new works created by internationally known visual artist, spoken word performer, businessman and author of 11 published nonfiction works, Halim Flowers. The exhibit opens during Phillips Theological Seminary’s annual Tulsa Race Massacre Lecture Series. Monday, April 29, Philips presents a lecture by Dr. Tracey Hucks, “Religion, the Black Body, and Intimate Terror in Trinidad” to commemorate the massacre, suggesting lessons the history offers, and interpreting the inherited legacies that must be confronted. Prior to the lecture, will be a reception launching the opening of Halim Flowers art exhibit featuring paintings exclusively created for this event.

In describing this body of work, Flowers began with these Bible verses:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” — Isaiah 43:19-21 (KJV)

SOMETHING NEW, BLACK BIRDS (2121) is a collection of 21 original paintings created by the visual artist Halim A. Flowers. The works were inspired by the painter’s researching the tragedy that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the evening of May 31, 1921. Upon visiting the city and connecting viscerally with the land that was once held sacred by the indigenous people before colonization, the elasticity of his imagination expanded after learning more about the local histories encompassing all cultural denominations that shared the area.

Upon returning to his studio from his trip to Tulsa this year, and after deep meditation, prayer, and fasting, Flowers was guided by his intuitive spirit to allow a visual language to flow through him that would imagine what the City of Tulsa – in particular its Greenwood area – would look like in the year of 2121, two centuries after the historic fatal events.

“In order to not repeat the past, we must use our collective imagination capital now, in order to alchemize a more loving and genuinely equitable future,” Flowers wrote. “The human family fails collectively, for its lack of vision. Therefore, I have initiated a success for the city holistically, by creating a unique visual language aesthetic, for its people to have the audacity to love and dream together across generic divisive constructs.

“Soul planes dropping bombs of love, mass graves resurrecting in joy, and the five civilized vibes are just a few of the visual poetries that will be illustrated in this collection. I believe that love is the vaccine to cure the spiritual hearts from the illness of indifference. It is through this vision and prayer that this body of work can bring the City of Tulsa together in radical love that will transcend all superficial barriers that serve to fracture the strong and resilient people of this industrious city.”

“We are honored to work with Phillips Theological Seminary on the Tulsa Race Massacre Lecture Series through art,” said gallery owner Nicole Longnecker. “The choice of Halim Flowers for this important solo exhibit was driven by the clear message in his work to bring communities together and illuminate topics that generate societal connections through love.”

HALIM FLOWERS Halim A. Flowers (b. 1980, Washington, DC) is an activist working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including painting, sound, fashion, and performance. At age 16, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. At 38, after 22 years behind bars, he was released after successfully petitioning for resentencing. Art was Halim’s road to resilience and redemption.

While in prison, Halim became a memoirist and poet with an irrepressible drive to make meaning out of darkness. Liberated through self-expression, he wrote and published 11 non-fiction works about the causes and consequences of the American prison system. He mentored incarcerated youths through D.C.’s Young Men Emerging program and took courses at Georgetown University through its Prisons and Justice Initiative. Halim’s experiences were captured in the Emmy award-winning documentary, “Thug Life In DC.” It’s powerful evidence of the persistence of human creativity in the most inhumane of circumstances. He refused to be rendered invisible.

In the aftermath of his incarceration, Halim became a husband and a father. It was his wife, Lauren McKinney, who encouraged him to pick up a paintbrush. Halim has created a spectrum of colorful, politically charged paintings to reclaim the individuality and agency that gets broken down in carceral spaces. He keeps an aura of kindness and positivity, choosing to send a message of love even when the subject is serious.

Halim’s work has been exhibited at the MoMA PS1 and the National Arts Club in New York City. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including Halcyon Arts Lab and Echoing Green fellowships. He is a sought-after speaker and has been featured on panels at universities and conferences around the country. In 2022 he launched his own streetwear clothing brand, debuted at New York Fashion Week and released his first album of rap music called “Ultracrepidarian.

Halim Flowers’ body of work is a visceral, visual embodiment about the ambition of racial justice, prison reform, financial literacy, and transcending adversity suggesting a sense of renewal, positivity and hope.

ABOUT PHILLIPS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY Phillips Theological Seminary offers Christian graduate theological education in service of intelligent, just, and compassionate religious and civic communities. Phillips welcomes students to a safe and brave space for truth-seeking conversations about the Bible, Jesus, and faithful living.


WHERE: Phillips Theological Seminary, 901 N Mingo Rd, Tulsa, OK 74116

WHEN: Tulsa Race Massacre Lectureship and Exhibit Schedule

Monday, April 29, 2024

  • 5:30 p.m. – Reception and opening of “Something New, Black Birds (2121)” by Halim Flowers
  • 6:45 p.m. – Dr. Tracey Hucks lecture, “Religion, the Black Body, and Intimate Terror in Trinidad”

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

  • 6:30 p.m. – Reception at Greenwood Rising with a Discussion with Halim Flowers

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

  • 6 p.m. – VIP reception with Halim Flowers, including live painting and discussion

MORE INFO: https://ptstulsa.edu/contact-us/ or (918) 610-8303



Halim Flowers, “A More Perfect Union (2121 Amendment),” 2024, acrylic, oil sticks on canvas, 36 x 24 inches

Halim Flowers, “GAP Band 2.0 (Live At Love Hall 2121),” 2024, acrylic, oil stick on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

(Images courtesy the artist and Nicole Longnecker Gallery)