BLATANT | A Forum on Art, Joy and Rage
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BLATANT is a forum and live zine series authored and facilitated by Independent curator and cultural strategist Ashara Ekundayo that centers the lived experiences and radical imagination of Black womxn artists and cultural workers creating across discipline and geography. Presented in conjunction with her “Artist As First Responder” platform, this monthly discussion highlights artists whose creative practices heal communities and save lives. Follow Us on IG @blublakwomyn @artistasfirstresponder @moadsf
This month Ashara Ekundayo will be in conversation with Courtney Desiree Morris and Helina Metaferia.
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Courtney Desiree Morris is a visual and conceptual artist and an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the forthcoming book, To Defend This Sunrise: Black Women’s Activism and the Geography of Race in Nicaragua (under contract with Rutgers University Press). She is a social anthropologist whose research and art focus specifically on social movements and cultural politics in the African Diaspora. As an artist, her work is concerned with understanding the ways that we inhabit place – through migration, ancestry, and shared social memory — and how places inhabit us. Her work focuses primarily on examining these ancestral narratives and everyday ritual aesthetics among communities throughout the African Diaspora, with a particular emphasis in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and West Africa. She works primarily in the fields of large-format photography, experimental video, installation, and performance art. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the National Gallery of Jamaica, the Ashara Ekundayo Gallery, the Photographic Center Northwest, and the San Francisco LGBT Center. www.courtneydesireemorris.com
Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working in collage, video, performance, and social engagement. Her work investigates the politics of the body in space as it pertains to identity and notions of citizenship. Helina has exhibited her work at venues including Museum of African Diaspora (San Francisco), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (Detroit), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Smack Mellon (New York), NOMAD Gallery (Brussels, Belgium), and Modern Art Museum (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
Helina completed her MFA at Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2015 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been supported by various artist residencies, including Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, MASS MoCA, and Triangle Arts Association. Her work has been reviewed in Hyperallergic, Artnet News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Performa Magazine. Helina has taught in the BFA and MFA departments at the San Francisco Art Institute, Michigan State University, and Parsons Fine Arts. She is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow / Assistant Professor at Brown University, and lives and works in New York City.
Ashara Ekundayo is an independent curator, artist, designer, creative industries entrepreneur and organizer working internationally across cultural, spiritual, civic, and social innovation spaces. Through her company AECreative Consulting Partners and her projects Omi Arts Project + Space and Ashara Ekundayo Gallery, 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 Black radical feminist framework to the public sector by centering the lives, traditions, and expertise of Black womxn of the African Diaspora. Currently, Ashara serves as Chief Creative Catalyst for the Bay Area Girls & Womxn of Color Collaborative, serves on the Advisory Board of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, and is the author and editor of the Artist As First Responder multi-media platform which excavates, documents and archives the work of artists who creative practices heal communities and save lives.
The Artist as First Responder Project is supported by: African American Art & Culture Complex | Akonadi Foundation | The San Francisco Foundation Wakanda Dream Lab at Movement Strategy Center | Women’s Foundation of California