MDUUC Virtual Art Show
"Art of the African Diaspora"
The Art of Living Black was founded in 1997 and until 2019 each year held an annual art show by this name. Since late 2019 this annual art show has been rebranded as Art of the African Diaspora.
MDUUC is very pleased to hold our 3rd annual art show featuring artists from Art of the African Diaspora. In 2020, Art of the African Diaspora featured over 150 artists, with 70 artists participating in the program for their first or second time. 95 artists participated in Open Studios and Satellite Exhibitions in over 30 different venues across the Bay Area including MDUUC.
The Empty Streets of oakland
by Escape Artist (Kumi Rauf)
Drone footage of the empty streets of Oakland, CA on Mar. 27th, 2020. The coronavirus caused the bay area to go into lockdown mode on March 17th at 12:01am. When the US reached that #1 spot for cases of Coronavirus people really started to take it serious.
Meet Our Artists
After leaving corporate America, Kumi took his first international trip. They say once your mind is stretched by a new idea, it never regains its original dimensions. Kumi traveled extensively throughout Africa and other parts of the world soaking up culture and using his camera as a conduit for telling forgotten stories and forbidden tales of Blackness.
Recently Kumi has begun to document more stories in his own backyard. Oakland has so many beautiful and resilient stories to tell, these must never be forgotten.
In addition to being a photographer Kumi is also a drone pilot. Capturing images and video from an aerial perspective allows more encompassing ideas to take flight in his art (pun intended). Kumi blends his passion for Black cultures, storytelling and traveling in his artwork. He also leads tours to many different places around the world. Because of his love for travel & art he is known as the Escape Artist."
I'm inspired by the beauty of a thing, by the common thing, by the unusual thing, by the different thing, by the shape of a thing, by the color of a thing. It’s uniqueness. I try to find something I like about all things when I'm shooting. Sometimes it's just the perspective or the composition that will make the photograph. I look and shoot and look and shoot and hope that I find ""the shot"". Sometimes good, sometimes not, but that's the beauty of photography, you can always take another shot.
I want my photographs to be visually stimulating, to evoke emotion, to question the perspective, to recall a specific time in life, in my life, to make someone wonder oh, where was that, what is that, how did she do that, or just wow.
I don't always set out to photograph a specific thing or person. I like to just go out and walk around and see what I can see, how can I capture what is out there in a way that might be interesting, and a lot of times with no expectations. I try to adapt to my surroundings. I’m spontaneous and try to capture images and share the experiences while I’m shooting. The uniqueness is not always in the object, sometimes it is me and the perspective I used.
I'm also an artist. I work in acrylic, pastels, charcoal, and graphite.
Atiba Sylvia Thomas
Art is an absolute liberation of my imagination, a tool I use to communicate and share my “inner-light.” I have regular memories of my childhood working at the local super market, helping elders with their shopping bags. Receiving tips helping my grandmother in her barber shop by sweeping up the hairs to find money mysteriously hidden in large clumps. At the end of each service, those who knew me would say, “Keep up the good work and never stop doing your art.” From these experiences, I have learned the treasure of focusing on minuet details. Eventually, I realized in my artistic process that I too would hide treasures. This also modeled my pursuit for found objects.
Living with this artistic expression is ritualistic in act and meditative in thought. Many times in the midst of creating, I experience dejavu. The realization of a single moment is obsolete only until it is captured by a memory of a stroke; a thought or pause for observation that I have discovered represents reincarnation of that tangible moment. Because of this, the very act of creating fine art is imparted with the relationship and responsibility I have with THE CREATOR. “The purpose of my existence.”
I also feel it is my duty as self taught artist to have an internal dialog with the viewer and in many cases the ancestors, where at this point I find inspiration for artistic expression. Fathering my child, serving my community, drumming, martial arts, poetry, philosophy and ancestral facts (history), all helps with the enhancement of my expression, to captures the Black, experience in America. I enjoy manipulating dry water-based paints, oil pastels, ink pen, found objects or assemblage. Book illustrations, portraiture, and public art projects have brought me closer to my community. The purpose of my compositions is to elevate the social, political, environmental and spiritual issues of people deeply challenged by oppression. This has been my greatest enrapture.
Kenya and Haiti are places for instance that influence the bold and dramatic colors in my works. Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Charles White, John Biggers and Jean-Michel Basquiat (to name a few) have inspired my artistic direction. Being an artist and growing up with-in low-income housing projects, surrounded by the early stages of Hip-Hop, had an immense impact on my ability to create freely. Although these bold life styles of music, poetry, art, dance, and intense research today seems barbaric. It nevertheless has influenced me to be boundless in my creative efforts to deliver messages of empowerment to the indigenous peoples of the world."