Askia Bilal was born in New York City. He received his BFA from Columbia College (Missouri) and his MFA from the University of Michigan. He lives and works in Columbia, Missouri, where he is currently an artist in residence at Orr Street Studios and an instructor to English language learners at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Bilal describes his artwork as a search for meaning–a tool to make sense of the world. His creative practice is one of layered techniques and layered meaning, with abstract and gestural marks arranged to symbolize the artist’s own iconography of literary and philosophical elements. Collaged components, often residual of other paintings, conceal and reveal layers beneath, giving each work a unique physicality and history.