BLATANT | A Forum on Art, Joy and Rage with host Ashara Ekundayo and guests April Bey and Niama Safia Sandy
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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 April Bey and Niama Safia Sandy.
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April Bey grew up in The Bahamas (New Providence) and now resides and works in Los Angeles, CA as a visual artist and art educator. Bey’s interdisciplinary artwork is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian culture, contemporary pop culture, feminism, generational theory, social media, AfroFuturism, AfroSurrealism, post-colonialism and constructs of race within supremacist systems.
Bey’s work is in the collection of The California African American Museum, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Fullerton College Art Gallery, Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA, and more. Bey has exhibited in biennials NE7, NE8 and NE9 in The Bahamas. Bey has also exhibited internationally in Italy, Spain and Accra Ghana, West Africa.
Bey has launched 5 solo exhibitions: Picky Head at Liquid Courage Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas, COMPLY at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown, Los Angeles, MADE IN SPACE at Band of Vices Gallery in West Adams, a large survey of work spanning several years, Welcome to Atlantica at Fullerton College Art gallery and most recently a solo presentation with UPFOR Gallery at UNTITLED ART ONLINE Art Fair.
Bey is both a practicing contemporary artist and art educator having taught a controversial course at Art Center College of Design called Pretty Hurts analyzing process-based art and Beyoncé hashtag faux feminism. Bey is currently a tenured professor at Glendale College.
Niama Safia Sandy is a New York-based cultural anthropologist, curator, producer and multidisciplinary artist. Her creative practice delves into the human story – through the application and critical lenses of culture, healing, history, migration, music, race and ritual. She sees her role as that of an agitator – one who endeavors to simultaneously call into question and make sense of the seemingly arbitrary nature of modern life and to celebrate our shared humanity in the process. Sandy is fascinated by the ways in which history, economics, migration and other social forces and constructs have shaped culture and identity. Her aim is to leverage history, the visual, written and performative arts, chiefly those of the Global Black Diaspora, to tell stories we know in ways we have not yet thought to tell them and to lift us all to a higher state of historical, ontological and spiritual wholeness in the process.
Sandy is a co-founder of The Blacksmiths, a coalition forging support for Black liberation against anti-Black racism and its manifestations in the academy and at cultural institutions on the global stage. She is a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of women and non-binary identifying musicians bringing song to life in the spirit of activism, collective joy and resistance. She is also an active member of the Wide Awakes, an international open-source network of artists and creatives radically reimagining the future through creative collaboration.
She has presented work, and spoken at art institutions around the world. Niama is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, School of Art and the Curator-and-Writer-in-Residence at Fridman Gallery where Sandy’s most recent curatorial project, Alternating Currents, opened in July 2021.
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