Thomas Akawie was born in New York City, New York in 1935. He attended the University of California Berkeley. He has exhibited at the San Francisco Art Institute, California Palace of Legion and Honor, San Francisco Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Akawie was a Guest Faculty and Instructor at the University of California, Berkeley, an Assistant Professor at California State University, Los Angeles, and a Professor of Fine Art at the San Francisco Art Institute. He died in Berkeley, California in 2019.