Artwork & words (c) to the individual artists. Photos link to artist websites (where available).
I don’t know for certain where my home is – slavery has robbed me of this. At the same time it has granted me with the power to choose. [...] When your history is like cracked tile, fitting it back together is easy. You crumble it into sand and sprinkle it into forms only you can dream of.
My paintings feature expressions of Cuban and pan-Caribbean identities and experiences in the USA. I am inspired by the hybridity of “creole/criollo/kreyol” cultures, and seek to convey the beauty and contradictions of these evolving cultural realities in my work.
Pablo Soto Campoamor
Alonzo "Zochi" Young
It is my hope that my work assists in the healing of our communities and brings positive transformative change into the world. In some small way it is my hope to free the sleeping mind and inspire something more, something greater than ourselves.
Art is an absolute liberation of my imagination, a tool I use to communicate and share my “inner-light.” Living with this artistic expression is ritualistic in act and meditative in thought. [...] Being an artist and growing up within low-income housing projects, surrounded by the early stages of Hip Hop, had an immense impact on my ability to create freely.
My work is a personal prayer…an invitation to myself and others to remember the magic, beauty, and connection that is available to us by honoring our ancestral past. [...] I am inspired heavily by Indigenous life and material culture in which I find a sense of worship and reverence that permeates all aspects of life.
I am interested in memory—what’s accessible, what’s inaccessible and what needs to be recreated. At the same time, I am also interested in how one accesses this latent memory through art forms like the visual arts, performance arts, and sonic arts, such as paintings, photography, film, dance, theatre, music and spoken language.
My goal as an artist is to contribute to the awakening that must occur if our species is to avoid extinction and achieve health, security and happiness. Part of that is to remind people [...] that there will be violent resistance to even the most modest, sensible and humane proposals. Part is to hold the vision that in that new world, medicine and loneliness as we know them will be obsolete.
An African Jamaican male with a feminist perspective, Abba Yahudah is a conscious visionary heart brother, deeply committed to the rebirth of the Goddess and with deep empathy for the suffering of black women, but also for the pain of the larger collective body of African people. The African Diaspora, Ethiopianism, mysticism, and the Rastafarian experience inspire his art and writings.
Abba Yahudah Sellassie
As an African American, my true African heritage was severed by the process of slavery in this country. [...] What drove me was to visually reconnect with my heritage and to seek out and create Beautiful and dignified images of my own race. [...] As I evolved and matured as an artist I have expanded this outlook to include other culture and races. In the age of facelifts and striving for everlasting youth, I seek to transform the common vision of majesty, dignity and beauty.
Landscape is my ultimate inspiration. [...] Nature is where I go to find strength and resiliency. It allows me the mental space from the hustle of the city and the constant problem solving demands of social justice work and youth organizing. [...] To me, the vibration of dessert energy is as soothing, clear and vivid as ocean waves, although the landscape is a completely opposite expression.
I paint about my African American culture, friends and family. I also enjoy painting about subjects that give me joy and happiness, such as, love, music and dance. I prefer using oil paints because of its versatility and ability to create different texture. I can apply the paint thick or thin and because it takes a while to dry, I can manipulate the paint in various ways. My style can be considered abstract representation.
This piece is called: S.K.I.T.T.L.E.S. (Stop Killing Innocent Trayvons Treat Love Everyone the Same).
While I was personally interested in The Occupy Oakland Movement, I also saw it through the lens of a high school educator. I was teaching U.S. History classes at the time and this was a prime opportunity to engage students with an historical period [...] as we discussed the Constitution, wealth distribution, the role of government, social activism and a number of other social issues. Being able to tell personal stories about each image raised the level of engagement.
I don’t believe there is a political solution to the problems we currently face. The answers are to be found within us and in the teachings of the spiritual masters past, present, and future. The calligraphy in the painting Dissolving Buddha means “Return to the Beginning.” Return to the beginning so that I may once again embrace you in the future.
This piece is about meditation and the cultivation of peaceful energies. The central figure is in meditation and the Chi character represents the flow of energy. The larger protective figure is reminiscent of a guardian angel or astral body, which also provides protection and enhances the power of prayer.
“It’s more than a work of art…It’s a healing for the mind, body and spirit.”
Both the challenges and gifts of the healing path are deep. Whether the healing you seek is physical, emotional, or spiritual (or all of the above), healing is always possible. My goal as an artist is to help you SEE it so you can BE it. [...] I don’t just paint a painting or draw a drawing. I pour my whole being and my deepest prayers into my work.
A core tenant of Karmic Astrology is that the Earth goes through “Ages.” Each Age involves societal and cultural shifts, which challenge people to consider new ways of understanding and behaving with the world. People that are successful in adapting to that Age often spiritually excel. I was inspired to create artwork that symbolized key elements and struggles of different Ages.
This Mohandas Gandhi piece is inspired by my larger Models of Accountability series. These mixed media works are on mirrors that shift and refract the imagery of avatars for social change as the viewer moves among them. By allowing the mirror to show through the meticulously drafted drawing and painting, the viewer can recognize themselves within, rather than apart from, advocates of human value.
Our rivers and seas are weeping crying out for relief from our abuse and neglect [...] they had no choice but to lash back and spill out the waste try to regain balance find the purity of fresh waters once more so we can be washed clean
April Martin Chartrand
‘Treasured Cigar Box: Assemblage Explorations of the African Diaspora’ series - These multidimensional assemblage cigar boxes incorporate recycled and found objects, keys, money, and hand painted paper. This body of historic work offers knowledge and research into the deeper meaning of how the exploitative practices in the brutal servitude of the African slaves reaped fortunes for the Colonizers.
Born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Bryan Keith Thomas received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1996. Thomas Currently resides in Oakland, California, where he works as an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, in San Francisco and Oakland, CA.
This painting is called "Heaven & Earth."
Bryan Keith Thomas
The energy and movement of Arabic Calligraphy, powered by the positive messages from the sacred text has inspired me to create these new paintings. I use the same stroke of the brush for Arabic letters as I do for suggesting human forms. Both are fluid as if temporary expressions of the eternal universal vibration and energy.
[...] I been called on To do this by ancestors forever and I will not stop
All artwork and words copyright to the individual artist. Photos link to artist websites where available.
Please click for Transformative Visions 2013 WORD and MUSIC.
The photographs of the artists and their work on this webpage were taken by Oladunni Vandervall, Alonzo Young, Daniel Zarazua, and friends of the artists. Thank you!