Photos: Nicole Joseph
On Saturday, Nov. 18, New Life Covenant Southeast Church Senior Pastor, best-selling author, and renowned speaker Pastor John F. Hannah commemorated his 60th birthday with an exclusive black tie celebration of art titled “A Night of the Arts.”
The gala brought together a distinguished group of Chicago dignitaries, artists, philanthropic and community leaders. Guests experienced unity as they explored over 50 pieces from Pastor Hannah’s personal international and local art collection, featuring works from Nigeria (Abuja and Lagos), Ghana, and South Africa and showcasing the brilliant work of local Chicago artists Rick McNeal and Tyler Clark.
The Greenwood Oasis, which also serves as New Life Covenant SE Church, was transformed into an immersive art gallery. The South Side venue in the Greater Grand Crossing community featured a walk-through art section and floors that were adorned with a sea of balloons, which added a layer of splendor. The event included live music, lavish hors d’oeuvres and captivating African dancers.
Media personality and prayer leader Dr. Angela Martin and actor LaRoyce Hawkins hosted the event. They kept the laughs flowing and led the group in a memorable Happy Birthday song to Pastor Hannah.
The duo guided attendees towards “The Movement,” introducing dancer Erin Russel, who exemplified what movement should look like. Unbeknownst to attendees, it was a beautiful strategy to prepare them for the replica of the sculpture they were about to see.
During his speech, Pastor Hannah unveiled a replica of “The Movement,” a 13-foot outdoor art installation commissioned by artist and sculptor Abiola Akintola. Abiola, known as “The Green Revolution Artist,” uses unconventional materials such as wood, soda bottle caps, metal and clay to create astonishing, thought-provoking art. His artistic skills and Pastor Hannah’s vision bring a “new thing” to the South Side of Chicago.
The Movement will be a stainless steel sculpture strategically designed to attract light from a great distance. It will symbolize movement and positive progression in the community. It will include seven dancers, one standing at 9 feet tall. The continuous flow of movement will “capture the essence of the people,” said Pastor Hannah, and “expose art in a creative way in the urban community, knowing that with exposure comes expectation!”
Founder and CEO of Ladies of Virtue Jamila Trimuel expressed her support for “The Movement,” emphasizing the importance of exposing young people to art in their hometown, igniting their passion and potential.
Board Member Brittany Applegate highlighted the significance of “The Movement” for the South Side.
It represents exactly what the South Side is doing right now, which is moving in a positive direction. We feel that it is important to install this art installation because it’s going to be a landmark. It’s going to be a representative that drives people to not only visit the South Side of Chicago and see the beauty of it, but it also instills hope, imagination and creativity…We feel that it’s not only going to uplift them but allow them to keep moving into the positive direction they are already trending towards.
The City of Chicago is known for attracting millions of visitors to view the “Cloud Gate,” the sculpture known as “The Bean.” There is hope that “The Movement” will also be a historical piece that will unite communities, induce creativity and bring exposure. The official unveiling of “The Movement” is scheduled for 2024.
For further information or to invest in this monumental project, interested parties should visit www.greenwoodoasis.com.
Here are more photos from Pastor Hannah’s “A Night of the Arts” event: