Join us for a conversation and walkthrough of our current exhibitions, Let’s Play and i just want to be in the Black euphoria with you.

The first half of this event will include an introduction and open discussion with Let’s Play curator, Rochelle Spencer. Spencer will discuss her inspiration for the exhibition, as well as her current research, which explores play as a revolutionary act that can serve as a form of rebellion through both joy and creativity. Founder of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop, Spencer will also discuss the AfroSurreal ideas about intuition and imagination and the role it has in Let’s Play. In addition, writer and co-curator, Dera Williams will discuss her audio testimony “Piece-Aways”, which describes her relationship with a childhood friend. Exhibiting artists, Rtystk, a member of the Kiss My Black Arts Collective, and James David Lee will also describe their new work specifically in relation to play in Oakland.

The second part of this public program will include an artist talk with Jade Ariana Fair. Her installation in Pro Arts’ Project Space, i just want to be in the Black euphoria with you, explores both the desire for familial inclusion and spiritual transcendence from white supremacy. Fair uses reproductions of her own archive of family photographs are remixed, repeated and distorted into a floating landscape. Its source of illumination is the specter of light radiating through a mask.

ABOUT THE CURATOR:

Rochelle Spencer is founder of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop and co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women Writers of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), which has been named a “must-read” feminist book of 2014 by Ms. Magazine. Rochelle has received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and her work appears in a variety of publications, including the African American Review, Poets and Writers, Eleven Eleven, the East Bay Review, Callaloo, the Carbon Culture Review, the LA Review, and Mosaic. Rochelle is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

JADE ARIANA FAIR 

Jade Ariana Fair is a multidisciplinary artist living in Oakland, CA. She works across the genre of painting, performance, sound, and installation. She is a socially engaged artist whose social practice extends to arts education with youth and a healing arts practice.  She has been making art for as long as she can recall as a form of healing, guidance and self-recovery. Her art praxis is both research-based and heavily guided by intuition. She emphasizes resourcefulness in her practice, both her own and that of her ancestral legacy. Her arts education is a populist, community education derived from her own planetary exploration. She paints what she sees in visions, dreams, and from visceral responses to her study of personal and generational histories. She is a 2017 artist-in-residence at The Center for Afrofuturist Studies in Iowa City.

KISS MY BLACK ARTS COLLECTIVE

Collaboration is Key, Conversation is Necessary.

– Who We Are and What We Do!
– A well-organized community of artists that teach and demonstrate aspects of cultural expression through our art.
– We, the collective, should work together to have an overall agenda and help artists sell their work. We provide education within the collective.
– We do not practice racism or sexism.
– This is not a single voice community.
– We get jobs for artists and performers alike while producing art that fosters freedom of expression and speech.
– We commit to the push for social reform and demonstrate equitable sustainability. We exemplify each other in all areas of creativity.
– We Make art that doesn’t rely on, white supremacy or capitalism to exist.
– We Create art that articulates the realities of living in an unjust society.
– We Create art that envisions liberty for the unjust. At all times, we dismiss the parameters of defining creativity.
– Be a gangsta. Not the kind that abuses the community and those in it. When the time comes, help organize art shows and mural projects in your hood.
– Be an artist that dismantles stereotypes.

JAMES DAVID LEE

James David Lee is a painter and installation artist based in San Francisco who explores ideas of ambiguity and latency – especially as inspired by philosophical Daoism. He received a bachelors degree in art history from Yale University and a law degree from Stanford Law School. His work is in the collections of the Yale University Arts of the Book Collection, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the Book Club of California.

DERA WILLIAMS

Dera is a writer, editor, genealogist, writing mentor, researcher, and family historian, and she is active in local literary and national literary events. She was co-coordinator of Marcus Book Store Book Club’s 2008 tenth anniversary and was a panelist at the Romance Slam Jam in Houston, TX. She is the keeper of family stories, archivist and helps coordinate the Rowland (maternal) family reunions in southern Arkansas. Dera is a member of the Board of Directors of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California and the recording secretary for the general membership.

Dera is an award-winning writer whose background includes novel writing, short story writing, academic writing, essayist, memoir, and blogging. She has been a book reviewer since 1997 for Affaire de Coeur magazine where she conducts author interviews and contributes articles. She is also a reviewer and co-editor for APOOO Exchange, a division of APOOO (A Place of Our Own) literary group. She has co-edited an anthology and has contributed profiles for encyclopedias. She is in the process of compiling a collection of childhood memories, Southern Roots/Cali Girl: My Coming of Age Story (several have already been published) for which she is seeking publication. Dera has three novels in the works which are in various stages of writing and revision. She is researching and writing her family history as well as researching the history of her mother’s hometown in southern Arkansas. Proud of her southern roots, she hears the ancestors whispering their stories to her.