In anticipation of Tim Okamura’s upcoming solo at Yeelen Gallery, Miami this December, we take a look at his most recent portraits of empowered African-American women. We last featured the British-Canadian-Japanese artist’s work in 2011, around the time of his “Bronx Brooklyn Queens” exhibition, which presented women of the NYC landscape who daringly transcend stereotype. Stylistically, his new pieces are hyper realistic yet also gestured and unconventional. Okamura’s use of contemporary aesthetics and materials, as in his collaborations with fellow urban artists, and personal symbolism uniquely connect each piece to the artist. A self described outsider, Okamura brings what he calls “misfits, outcasts and weirdos” to the forefront. His choice of subjects also raises a social issue that is important to him, such as the lack of African-Americans represented by New York galleries. His paintings still empower his female subjects, while bringing them up close and personal emotionally. Embracing who you are, combined with a decided sense of drive and ambition, is at their core. Strong, confident and independant, they are also soulful, self aware, and elegant.