BLATANT | A Forum on Art, Joy and Rage with host Ashara Ekundayo
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 Wildcat Ebony Brown and Tsedaye Makonnen.
Wildcat Ebony Brown is a Brooklyn-based artist with an experimental process, her work is vibrant and exhilarating through cross discipline of mixed media, installation and performance art, painting and collage. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in southern Maryland, she is self-taught, possesses innate artistic ability, and creates via contemplative response.
Through authentically embracing her myriad incarnations, she willfully utuilizes a multitude of acquired skill sets to navigate, curate and occupy various cultural spaces.
A founding member and key collaborator of the Wide Awakes, she conceptualizes and curates site specific activations. Understanding how artist led activism empowers and liberates bth communities and individuals enables her to produce safe, unconventional forms of civic engagement rooted in diversity, inclusion and collective joy. wildcatebonybrown.com
Tsedaye Makonnen is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, researcher and cultural producer, whose studio, practice threads together her identity as a Black mother, birthworker and a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. Makonnen primarily focuses on migration and intersectional feminism; using light, shadow, reflection, fractals, embodiment, movement and collaboration as materials. Her intention is to create a spiritual network around the globe that aims to re-calibrate the energy towards something positive and life affirming. Makonnen is the recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. She has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Art on the Vine (Martha’s Vineyard), Chale Wote Street Art Festival (Ghana), El Museo del Barrio, Fendika Cultural Center (Ethiopia), Festival International d’Art Performance (Martinique), Queens Museum, the Smithsonian’s and more. Her light sculptures have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art, and UNTITLED Art Fair. She has been featured in the NYTimes, Vogue, BOMB, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Artsy, and more. Her recent exhibitions include 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, Park Avenue Armory, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Momentary and Art Dubai. This Spring she is publishing a curatorial book with Washington Project for the Arts and this Fall she will join the Clark Art Institute as their inaugural Futures Fellow. Makonnen is represented by Addis Fine Art and currently lives in DC with her 10 year old son.
Ashara Ekundayo is an independent curator, artist, 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. Currently, Ashara serves as Chief Creative Catalyst at the Bay Area Girls & Womxn of Color Collaborative and sits on the Advisory Board of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music and the Regional Advisory Board for Arts Web Alameda County. Her platform Artist As First Responder excavates, documents, and archives the stories of present-day and next generation cultural workers whose art practices heal communities and save lives. Ashara recently launched the Reflection Fund for Black Bay Area creatives and is co-founder of Black [Space] Residency, a physical container for imagination, inquiry, activity and rest. www.Ashara.io
Artist As First Responder is supported by: Girls & Womxn of Color Collaborative, African American Art & Culture Complex | Akonadi Foundation | The San Francisco Foundation | Wakanda Dream Lab | Women’s Foundation of California | Walter & Elise Haas Fund