Jabari Reed-Diop is known in the St. Petersburg art scene as iBOMS. The 22-year-old artist’s solo show opened earlier this month at D-Gallerie, 1234 Dr. MLK and will continue through July. The exhibition, titled “Xebra” may be the most thought-provoking art you’ll see this, summer.
The name iBOMS is his own comic style avatar. Each of his paintings reflect the loss he describes as stemming from being a young male growing up with questions about life, but without a father to help answer them. His art doesn’t fit into one category; it’s not graffiti, nor comics, yet iBOMS allows it the freedom to go there, to mix with the messages in the varied paintings, sculptures, and sketches. Every piece expresses many dimensions including self-love, destruction, and discovery. It’s museum quality, eye-popping street art that demands attention.
Matthew Walker, creator of the app Pixelstix, is excited to be working with iBOMs by incorporating Pixelstix into an indoor mural in the D-Gallerie. The app is free and is already incorporated into many of St. Pete’s murals. When someone slides their phone over a PixelStix plaque, the video or memory is immediately played through the app. “We use tech that allows digital objects in public places,” says Walker.
Pixelstix has been around since 2018 and Walker has integrated the technology into murals in Flint Michigan, Raleigh, Los Angeles, and the SHINE Mural Festival in St. Pete. “We’re trying not to get in the way of Jaban’s work,” he says. “We want to elevate his art to another level—to help carry his message here in St. Pete and tell that larger story.”
This is the first time Walker has participated in a gallery exhibition. “iBOMS has had an arrival on the scene and St. Pete has really gravitated toward his message of what it means to be a young black male—he articulates it in such a wide range,” says Walker.
iBOMS tells his story with voice, movements, vivid colors, and symbolism. His artist statement describes the exhibit best:
“My latest character, Xebra is based on existence as an emerging artist in a world and city in the midst of a reboot. From his peaceful tussle of the mind, to his carefully constrictive cuddle of what’s right and wrong. Xebra finds peace in his brackish identities of bliss. “Am I black with white stripes or am I white with black stripes?” He observes and allows the rabbit of fate to feast properly upon him, revealing layers of colors never before seen, nor felt.”
Story wrtiten by by Laura Kepner. Photos are of the exhibit for editorial purposes only–all rights reserved. Feature image above is of one of iBOMs Murals on display as a part of the SHINE festival put on by the St Petersurg Art Alliance.