Join Artist As First Responder and poet-authors Tonya M. Foster, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Natalia Molebatsi in a poetic conversation on identity, history, abolition and belonging, facilitated by independent curator Ashara Ekundayo.
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Tonya M. Foster is a poet, essayist, and Black womanist scholar. She is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court, the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire des Os; and coeditor of Third Mind: Teaching Creative Writing through Visual Art. Her writing and research focus on poetry, poetics, ideas of place and emplacement, and on intersections between the visual and the written. She was a member of the multi-disciplinary advisory committee for the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Her essay for the exhibition’s 2021 field guide,“Time, Memory, and Living in Shotgun Houses in the South of the South City of New Orleans,” expands her meditations on place and poetics. Tonya serves as the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry at San Francisco State University.
Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book titled, Someone's Dead Already was nominated for a California Book Award. His book, Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffins Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award. His latest book Blood On The Fog is also a release of the City Lights Pocket Poets. In 2020, he co-founded Black Freighter Press. He is San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.
Natalia Molebatsi is a Pan-African queer feminist poet, writer, and performer. She is the author of two poetry collections, Sardo Dance and Elephant Woman Song. She is the editor of We are: A Poetry Anthology and Wild Imperfections: An Anthology of Womanist Poems. Her experimental CD projects, Natalia Molebatsi and the Soul Making and Come as You Are: Poems For Four Strings are available on iTunes. Natalia has performed and facilitated creative writing workshops in over 15 countries on 5 continents. She is currently a PhD student in Performance Studies at Northwestern University
Ashara Ekundayo is an independent curator, artist, cultural theologian, creative industries entrepreneur and organizer working internationally across cultural, spiritual, civic, and social innovation spaces. Through her company AECreative Consulting Partners she places artists and cultural production as essential in equitable design practices, real estate development, and movement-building. Her intersectional worldview offers both an Afrofuturist and radical Black feminist framework to the public sector by centering the lives, traditions, and expertise of Black womxn of the African Diaspora. She sits on the Advisory Boards of the Global Fund for Women “Artist Changemaker Program,” San Francisco MoMA SECA Committee, and the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music. In 2019 she founded and currently stewards Artist As First Responder, an organization and 6-point philanthropic, interactive arts platform that reifies artists whose practices heal communities and save lives. She also serves as Co-Founder of Black [Space] Residency and is the Cultural Strategist for Chef Bryant Terry’s 4Color Books, an imprint of Ten Speed Press. www.Ashara.io
This event is co-presented by the Omi Black Writer's Residency in partnership with Black [Space] Residency.