See Erick Iheme's "Heart and Tongue" at Stephen Smith Fine Art this Friday, Feb 4

Flyer for EW Iheme's opening exhibit Heart and Tongue
See Iheme's artwork this Friday. Photo from Eric Iheme. 

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) has many talented employees, including the latest addition to Pratt City Branch Library’s staff.

As a Library Assistant, he goes by Erick Iheme. But when he makes art, he goes by EW Iheme.

Iheme grew up and spent most of his life in San Diego, California before recently moving to Birmingham, Alabama. He has always been an artist but started creating art professionally in the last 10 years.

He began painting purely for expression, seeking to quell that inner voice calling him to paint. Currently, he is exploring collages—searching through images and piecing them together to tell a new story.

Just from looking at his art’s Instagram page, you can see how he defamiliarizes common scenes to create a disorienting narrative with most of them staring right back at the viewer. Magnetitic and fun, you can’t help but stare as you take in each little piece that adds to the artwork as a whole. 

Colorful painting by EW Iheme titled Mother and Daughter
Mother and Daughter by EW Iheme. Photo from EW Iheme.

Iheme’s latest exhibit, Heart and Tongue, is also his first exhibit in Alabama. 

Having my first solo art exhibit is a surreal experience. I am so humble and appreciative of this opportunity because I have had so many 'No's as an artist. But the 'Yes's make the 'No's worth it.

Life and the compulsion to speak about the time and space we are experiencing inspired this exhibit. As described by Stephen Smith Fine Art, Heart and Tongue  "combines Expressionism with Urban and Folk traditions to express contemporary themes that are both amusing and disturbing."

Colorful painting by EW Iheme featuring what looks like cat title bang bang
bang bang by EW Iheme. Photo from EW Iheme.

Stephen Smith Fine Art gallery opened in 2015 in a hundred-year-old former silent movie theater in downtown historic Fairfield. Smith received his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and his Masters in Art History from UAB. Stephen Smith Fine Art fosters a culture of exploration and supporting artists, featuring artwork that is "thought-provoking, technically excellent, or just fun."

Heart and Tongue is on display throughout the month of February with the opening reception this Friday night.

  • What: Opening Reception of Heart and Tongue
  • When: Friday, February 4 | From 5:00—8:00 p.m.
  • Where: Stephen Smith Fine Art | 5104 Gary Ave, Fairfield, AL 
Follow EW Iheme on Instagram to see what's next for his art, and follow the BPL on Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see what else BPL employees are up to beyond the bookshelves. 

By Cheyenne Trujillo | Library Assistant Ⅲ, Central Library