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Roger Allan Cleaves was born in Memphis, TN where he currently lives and works. He received his Bachelors of Fine Art at the University of Memphis. During his tenure at the University of Memphis he was one of fifteen undergraduate students selected from across the country to participate in the Yale Norfolk Summer program for the arts. Cleaves went on to study at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where he received his MFA.


 Cleaves latest works feature a self-written fictional story titled The Land of the Forget Me Nots. The story investigates social themes, fantasy, and epic adventures through the lens of Afrofuturism. Symbolism, abstract figuration, and distortion are a few of the tools he uses in his creative process. Often times Cleaves uses motifs from Modernism that have been borrowed from African cultures to explore the complex relationship between black artist and the contemporary art institution. The different bodies of work are generally moments from the storyline that concentrate on the characters interactions inside the created world. The created world - Forget Me Nots Land- is a multiverse and an amalgamation of sociological ideas fused with contemporary storytelling.



2008-2011 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Masters of Fine Arts

2007 University of Memphis: Memphis, Tennessee, Bachelor of Fine Arts,

2006 Yale University, Yale Norfolk Summer School for the Arts


2017 National Endowment For the Arts Grant, Mississippi Arts Commission
2010 Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, University of Wisconsin at Madison

2010 Lois G. Roberts Scholarship, University of Wisconsin at Madison

2009 Lotterman Fellowship, University of Wisconsin at Madison

2008 Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, University of Wisconsin at Madison

2007 River Arts Festival Invitational, Memphis, TN

2007 24th Annual AMUM University of Memphis Merit Award

2006 Ellen Battell Stoekel Fellowship, Yale University

Bertrand Production Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TW Fine Art NY/ Miami


Maximum Overdrive , Aldelphi University, Garden City, NY,  Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Gallery,
curated by Jon Duff ( Group Exhibition) 

Art on Paper Fair, pier 36 Manhattan, NY Bertrand Productions

Seattle Art Fair – Bertrand Productions
Art of Science 2022 - Memphis, TN St Jude Fundraiser
Surreal So Good- Miami, FL TW FINE Art (Group Exhibition)
No Place Like Home – Bertrand Productions (Group Exhibition)
Sky’s The Limit – Brooklyn, NY TW FINE Art (Group Exhibition)

A Night for the Culture Sweet Blessings Gallery van Nuys, CA curated by Na' Keyta Moore
Hot off the Wall- Dixon Garden and Gallery Museum Memphis, TN curated by Julie Pierotti
Fact of Blackness: Los Angeles, CA  - Dominique Art Gallery
Caught Up in a Lockdown Affair – Brooklyn, NY TW Fine Art Group Exhibition
Memphis 2021 Dixon Garden and Gallery Museum Memphis, TN curated by Julie Pierotti
Unraveled. Restructured. Revealed. Trout Museum. Appleton, WI curated by Tyanna Buie
Art on Paper Fair, pier 36 Manhattan, NY Bertrand Productions

Intersect Chicago Sofa Expo- Chicago Navy Pier, Bertrand Productions
Rebels of the Party- New York, New York, Flyweight Projects
Very Cool- 74 Flicker Street , Memphis, TN , Binder Projects
Art on Paper Fair- Pier 36 – Manhattan, New York, Bertrand Productions
Dixon Museum Flower Exhibition

Memphis 2020 –Dixon Gallery and Garden Museum, Memphis, TN
Curator: Julie Pierotti
Voluntary Indirect – Traveling exhibition through TN, UT of Martin, UT of Knoxville, MTSU Curator: Clay Palmer

Monsters and Reveries- Two person exhibition.  Globe Dye Works Building- Philadelphia PA, Bertrand Productions Gallery


Monsters Marks- Group Exhibition. Art Museum University of Memphis, Memphis, TN Curator Sherry CM Lindquist
A World Away – Group Exhibition Mississippi Library Commission, Jackson, MS

The Forget Me Nots- Solo Exhibition, Marshall Arts, Memphis, TN

The Art of Science Exhibition  -Group Exhibition , Memphis, TN

Two of a Kind – Group Exhibition – Show Pen Residency, Denver, Colorado
Lost Boys – Solo Exhibition - Material Art Space, Memphis, TN
Radio – Group Exhibition Pink Factory, Madison WI
Material Anthology Show – Group Exhibition- Memphis, TN Curated by Hamlett Dobbins
Sick And Twisted – Group Exhibition – Showpen Residency Denver Colorado, Curated by Donald Fondness

A Dozen or Something Twenty Somethings, Group Exhibition- Dean Jenson Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

The Magic Hour, Solo Exhibition -Art Loft Gallery, Madison Wisconsin

Uncompromised, Group Exhibition -Gelsy Verna Gallery, Madison Wisconsin

Strong Combinations, Electric Earth Gallery Space, Madison Wisconsin


Triple Crown, Art Loft Gallery, Madison Wisconsin
Imaginary Friends, Common Wealth Gallery, Madison Wisconsin

24th International Juried Show Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Juror Susan Kismaric, Summit, NJ

Forward,  Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago IL

15 Seconds,  Art Lofts Gallery, Madison Wisconsin


It’s My First Time, 7th Floor Gallery, Madison,WI

A Class of Hicks, Memphis College of Art Main Gallery, Memphis, TN
UW Madison Group Exhibition , The Priebe Gallery , Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Ties that Bind, Marshall Arts Gallery, Memphis,TN

New Kids on the Block, Project Lodge Galley, Madison, WI2007

AMUM 24th Annual Juried Student Show, Juror Gail Roberts

University of Memphis BFA Thesis show, Jones Gallery Memphis, TN

This is Not an Exit First Congregation Gallery, Memphis TN

RiverArts Festival Invitational, Jay Etkin Gallery Memphis, TN



Yale-Norfolk Student Show, Norfolk, Connecticut

Head Cases, AMUM caseworks

Fed Ex Forum presents New Talent, Fed Ex Forum HQ Exhibition, Memphis, TN

Art in the Park, University of Memphis, Theatrical and Fine Art collaboration.

Best of Class of 2006, Lantana Project Organization, Memphis, TN

AMUM 22nd Annual Student Show University of Memphis, AMUM, University of Memphis


  Saint Maison . Archive 00. Volume 1  2020
Cochran, Ginger. Thought Art Magazine Issue 2. 2020
Zemtsova, Maria. ArtMaze Magazine Spring Issue 7. Art Maze Press, 2018
Curated by Benjamin Sutton
G, Sara ArtAscent  Art and Literature Journal Volume 32. Skybase Publishing Inc, 2018
Buisch, Derrick. RADIO RADIO, Baltimore Zine Project, 2015
Franz, Jason. International Drawing Annual 6. Manifest Press, 2011
Franz, Jason. International Drawing Annual 4. Manifest Press, 2009

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