Brandt Maina | RIOA wa ROE (They/He/Her) is a Portland-based queer abstRact artist and absuRdist writer and performer from Nairobi, Kenya. In 2016, they moved from Kenya to rural Indiana at 19 years old, a seven-year Crash Course on everything America has to offer a Black queer immigrant.
With a background in the arts, and fresh memories of being homeless in downtown Portland, Brandt documents and abstracts his autobiography into pastel drawings, surreal poetry, absurdist plays, particular photography, genre-fluid music, and Presencing™ performances
which shape sacred spaces –
experiences for everyone to slow down,
breathe in deeply,
and joyously exhale our collective traumas.
RIOA has had two staged readings at Portland Center Stage and shown their photography and drawing at Blue Sky Gallery, P:EAR, Past Lives Gallery, and Gallery 114. He has works in private collections in Portland including SERA Architects, and has been commissioned to write and perform poetry by Trinity Episcopal Church and Theodicy Jazz Collective.
In his advocacy and social practice work,
Brandt works with PUSH Movement as a creative program designer for their after-school work within the Portland School Districts and with at-risk and homeless youth in our city. In 2023, Brandt also completed a training course and community project with Oregon Health Equity Alliance where he co-wrote and designed a financial planning resource book for African Immigrants and Refugees. And he just started a data justice community leads contract with SmartCity PDX.
LONGer BIO (but wait there's more vision2020's)
right at this very moment,
RIOA wa ROE is editing the collection of 9 short plays they wrote this Summer2023. They are slowly sharing this collection, Succinct Suppositions, with his artist community and subscribers
Following the 2 staged readings at PCS this summer, he is working on 3 staged readings scheduled in Winter/Spring at CoHo Theatre and Shaking the Tree Theatre
Brandt is also working to produce a tv pilot
for a series on their experience of the postmodern American dream
as an international student studying in rural Indiana.
They are editing the first two plays they wrote,
Occasionally Other People Come In (2021)
The Blooming CHAOS if a Hot Summer (2022)
And composing and developing an ethereal tri-lingual wailings on a 5 string guitar for an album titled, “she broke my G string”,
all the while
Meticulously cataloging and finding gallery spaces for more than 8 collections/series of drawings documenting their experience as an immigrant applying for asylum status over the past two years,
July 2021 to…
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
She’s hoarding, HOARDING, 16 rolls of 35mm film from these same past two years
Some developed, some undeveloped
All of it
JUICYYYYYYYY!!! Girl, JUICY!
Andy Worhol is a whale, girl
Rye Tear, Rai Music is pretty good actually
RIOA wa ROE
Is a Prolific Artist
And And And
the Confidence in the calm of Her smile is Her charm
the Crystalline Clarity and Certainty of His vision
LAVA MOVING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Brandt also goes by the name RIOA wa RIOE
[Ri-Oh-Ah wah Ri-Oh- Ei]
RIOA for short.
The name means “Sun from the River” in Kikuyu.
I also identify as an absurdist clown and would remind us all that we need not take ourselves too seriously. Formalities are for fools and egos for Kanye.
Welcome to my digital journal
Delve as deep as you wish
All who return must leave an offering for the unknown gods
- All my love and light