BLATANT | A Forum on Art, Joy and Rage
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 Amara Tabor-Smith and Savannah Shange.
You will receive instructions to join via zoom after you sign up here.
Amara Tabor-Smith (She/her) is an Oakland, CA based choreographer/performance maker and the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. She describes her work as Conjure Art. She makes interdisciplinary site-specific and community responsive performance works utilizing Yoruba Lukumí spiritual technologies to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. She creates ritual experiences where audience and performers converge in mutual vulnerability and transformation. Her work is rooted in black, queer, womanist principles, that insist on liberation, joy and well-being. Amara has performed in the works of Ed Mock, Joanna Haigood, Anna Deveare Smith, Ronald K. Brown, Julie Tolentino, Adia Tamar Whitaker, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Faustin Linyekula, and is the former associate artistic director and company member with Urban Bush Women. She is a 2020 recipient of the Hewlett 50 grant with East Side Arts Alliance; a 2019 Dance/USA Fellow, 2018 United States Artist Fellow and a 2018 recipient of KQED’s “Bay Brilliant” award. Her current work, House/Full of Blackwomen in collaboration with director Ellen Sebastian Chang is a site-specific ritual performance project addressing the displacement, well-being and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland. Amara received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University and is an artist in residence at Stanford University. www.deepwatersdance.com
Savannah Shange is an urban anthropologist who works at the intersections of race, place, sexuality, and the state. She is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz with research interests in circulated and lived forms of blackness, ethnographic ethics, Afro-pessimism, and queer of color critique.
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