As part of the Art+Action Coalition’s Come To Your Census movement, which aims to inspire and galvanizeCensus participation by all communities—particularly those who have historically been marginalized—Art+Action, lead partner Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), and coalition partner Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), in collaboration with independent curator and arts organizer Ashara Ekundayo present See Black Women: a two-part livestream conversation featuring nine powerful Bay Area Black Womxn Artists and Curators to discuss visibility, grief, and the present paradigm shift in culture and practice. Presented under the Artist As First Responder project created by Ekundayo, the forum will include the voices of Sydney Cain, Erica Deeman, Angela Hennessy, Lava Thomas, Sam Vernon, Tahirah Rasheed, Asya Abdrahman, and Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo.The two-part conversation will take place LIVE on Tuesday, May 19 and Tuesday, May 26 from 4-5:15pm PST on YBCA and MoAD’s Facebook pages via Streamyard.
Black communities have been undercounted in the decennial Census for decades, disconnecting them from past generations, and disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods by depriving them of political representation and funding—for healthcare, food assistance, public transportation, child care and senior centers, schools, housing, and more. Art+Action commissioned the See Black Women Collective to contribute artwork that specifically invites the reader to “see and recognize” Black women’s lives and labor, for their outdoor public media Census campaign. As one pillar of Art+Action’s larger initiative of artist commissions, public programming, community events, exhibitions, and performances, a billboard by the See Black Women Collective—co-founded by Ashara Ekundayo, Angela Hennessy, Leigh Raiford, PhD, Tahirah Rasheed, and Lava Thomas—will be on view in San Francisco at 3rd and Thorton streets from mid-May through June. See Black Women artists Lava Thomas and Angela Hennessy also have artwork featured in Art+Action’s city-wide outdoor campaign, as well as in the coalition’sfree open-sourced digital toolkit, which provides communities with creative resources to galvanize their communities to participate in the Census—now live and online through October 31—to claim their fair share of resources and political representation for the next decade.
To insist upon being seen and heard is an act of resistance. Telling one’s story, recording a community’s legacy, and creating visual representations of one’s ancestry are methods of resisting erasure. During these two conversations, the participants seek to answer questions including: How do we cite and honor our existence? How do we ensure our labor is acknowledged and our stories are heard for us to receive our fair share—both in civic and artistic arenas?