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Ashara Ekundayo x Erin Yoshi: Joy-Informed Art as a Tool of Resistance and Healing
Episode 1499th November 2021 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 01:00:25

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In today’s episode of the Not Real Art Podcast, guest host and prolific Los Angeles-based muralist Erin Yoshi speaks with Ashara Ekundayo about the power of joy-informed art for resistance and healing. Ashara is a Black feminist, an independent curator, an artist, and an interdisciplinary creative arts leader committed to an intersectional framework of social transformation that expands the influence and impact of arts and culture on racial and gender equity and environmental literacy, and more specifically one that necessitates a practice of recognizing joy in the midst of struggle. Tuning in, you’ll learn more about the work that Ashara does through her nonprofit, Artist as First Responder, which acknowledges that artists show up first in crisis and celebration to forge solutions, heal communities, and save lives through design, practice, invitation, and presentation. Ashara shares her mission to hold space for creative labor, to create beautiful narratives about joy and pleasure in a society so focused on the trauma-informed, and her belief in the power of art and education to create change by showing us opportunities for who we are and what we can be. You’ll also discover some of the other remarkable projects, platforms, and exhibitions that Ashara has created and contributed to over the years, as well as some of her favorite artists right now, so make sure to tune in today for this insightful and powerful conversation about the intersection between love, art, joy, and rage!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Ashara reflects on her earliest memories as a ‘gatherer’ around the arts and crafts table.
  • How her parents introduced her to art and were formative influences on her practice.
  • Hear about Ashara’s career trajectory, formal education, and early desire to be a curator.
  • Learn more about Artist as First Responder (AAFR) and how it facilitates joy as a tool of resistance and a mechanism for healing communities.
  • Ashara explains the six-point philanthropic and interactive arts platform of AAFR.
  • The importance of celebrating artist’s work and arts labor as first responder work.
  • How Ashara navigates the traditional arts world as a queer, BIPOC arts leader and creative. 
  • Learn about the former Impact Hub Oakland, founded by seven artists, including Ashara.
  • Ashara shares her belief that we are all born creative and her ongoing mission to hold and create space for creative labor.
  • What she looks for in the artists she works with; honesty, curiosity, and enjoyment.
  • What Ashara calls the artist ‘flake out factor’ and the importance of authentic commitment.
  • How traveling has influenced her work and the perspective it has offered Ashara.
  • Some of the priorities that have shifted in her personal life following the pandemic.
  • Why she believes having grace and patience with ourselves and each other is the new norm.
  • Discover the self-guided Black Joy StoryWindows exhibition in Downtown Oakland.
  • Hear about BLATANT, a publication of AAFR, and Ashara’s ongoing conversation partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora.
  • Memorable conversations Ashara has had with Black women artists and cultural workers.
  • Ashara on the power art has to create change; witnessing opportunities for what can be.
  • How education goes hand-in-hand with creativity and the legacy of who we are.
  • Artists to watch, including Tongo Eisen-Martin, Tiff Massey, and Zanele Muholi.

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