Stara D'Haiti '24 is a makeup artist considering majors in Physics, Energy Resources Engineering and Earth Systems. She uses make-up as a storytelling device to think critically about standards of beauty, self-love, identity, vulnerability, acceptance and creativity. This year she will be building out her portfolio as a makeup artist, while exploring her practice as an act of social practice and self-transformation.
Kiara Dunbar '22 is a poet majoring in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Their poetry charts the ways misogynoir, queer and transphobia, and fatphobia influences our relationship to womanhood and the formation of gender identity. This year through the IDA Fellowship Kiara will continue work on their first poetry collection entitled, " i am not a girl!"; an archival work for Black, queer and trans youth. Black people, specifically those who had their religions, languages, and cultures forcibly stripped from them during chattel slavery, Jayla spends much of her time delving into ancestry, inspecting the cultural influence of Black slave descendants across global mediums, and battling to decolonize people and spaces almost everywhere she goes.
Alexis Mack '22 is a sustainable fashion creative with roots in organizing for ecofeminism. Her art is deeply rooted in activism, is pro-black, futurist, anti-discriminatory and pro- class liberation. Alexis will be designing and creating a collection that is fully recycled, gender neutral, size inclusive with all profits going to projects of wealth redistribution for BIPOC individuals.
Osadolor Osawemwenze '24 is a visual artist, graphic designer and creator of the podcast 'a coming of age, but irl' He uses his platform to comment on issues impacting today's youth. He analyzes covert forms of oppression normalized in the media to spark dialogues centered around BIPOC voices and all marginalized groups. He also explores social issues through a pop culture related lens to offer entertaining insight on current trends. Osadolor will be working on a new podcast centering youth exploration of the African diaspora.
Anuhea Parker '22 is a poet and actor majoring in Management Science and Engineering. She will create a chapbook of poetry that speaks to her experience as a mixed Native Hawaiian, with the long-term goal of writing comic books and children books about Native Hawaiian history and mythography. Revitalizing her cultural traditions and values is at the heart of her art practice.
Melissa Rivera '21 is a painter and poet majoring in CSRE. They plan to create a prayer book which will include paintings that encompass their hopes for a future in which the abolition of oppressive systems is a reality. Recognizing the power of intention in manifesting a new radical reality, Melissa is envisioning a world where boundaries are redefined, all the possibilities of one's gender are realized, and the prevailing importance of ritual and memory are incorporated into our everyday lived experience.
Maya Salameh (IDA student co-chair)
Maya Salameh '22 is an award-winning poet and a published author. She is a 2016 National Student Poet, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets, and has performed at venues including the Obama White House and Carnegie Hall. Syrian by way of San Diego, Maya is a psychology major whose work centers around the intersection of creativity and citizenship, articulating Arab-American culture, conflict and consciousness. She explores themes of desire, religion, diaspora, imperialism, intergenerational femininity and the hyphenated Arab body. Last year's inaugural Artist in Residence at the Markaz Cultural Center, Maya is currently working on a book, habibi and her first full-length collection, blood work. She is also particularly interested in the uses of dance and traditional jewelry in maintaining legacies of grace.
Jamie Seney '21 is a senior majoring in Art Practice whose visual work includes drawing and painting. Jamie plans on using this fellowship to create a visual prayer book and altar as sites that hold the energies and uplift the experiences of people living in poverty. The artist plans to return to their family’s trailer, abandoned almost a decade ago, to begin this work— creating an altar in collaboration with the community as an invitation for folks to engage in healing ritual and reclamation.
Angel "Ace" Smith (IDA student co-chair)
Angel “Ace” Smith '21 is a multimedia artist, writer, poet and musician majoring in African and African American Studies. Ace seeks to create art that honors their ancestors as well as honors what kind of ancestor they would like to be. Ace creates from a lens of healing. Their art comes from a place where both emotions and spirituality reside. The artist notes: “taking really deep and lasting breaths has enhanced my ability to see much more of the physical realm than I ever have before. I am better able to bring into focus, various representations of Spirit. For me that’s what Spirit is: Spirit is all around us, Spirit is energy, a moving force we breathe into ourselves. Breath has allowed me to connect to Spirit. This is the root of my artistic practice”.
Matta (Matthew) Zheng
Matthew (Matta) Zheng '22 is a drag performance artist majoring in Anthropology and Political Science. Currently titled “She Jin-Ping”, Matta’s proposed project is a comparative study of the Communist Party of China and the American empire as a drag photo series and short film. Relying heavily on drag techniques from traditional Beijing Opera, as well as the political aesthetics of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Matta will create a satirical persona which critics the gender and national identity of the political leader (ergo, “She Jin-Ping”).
Sequoiah Blaire '22, is a playwright, actor and director majoring in African and African American Studies. She will be writing a screenplay which features two Black sisters on a road trip from the deep South to the Pacific Northwest retracing their family history. A tale of discovery of what home and healing means for Black Women, the screenplay will further highlight the necessity for Black women to invest in their own spiritual growth as an act of outside and inside care.
Imani N'Cube '21 is a dancer, singer/songwriter and music producer who is majoring in African and African-American studies. She will be writing songs and releasing her debut music EP as part of the CBPA fellowship. Imani’s artistic journey this year will entail strengthening her abilities as a music producer, creating visual art, as well as learning better how to promote her work. Imani grounds her work in community with other artists and through ritual.
Allison Oddman '21 is a poet, filmmaker and playwright majoring in African and African American studies. Allison will be working on a choreopoem entitled "I AM: Tell Me Who, Tell Me What" that follows a Black woman's journey to find her name. It is a work that seeks to expose what Black womanhood looks like in a decolonized world and the tendency of history to exclude Black people of marginalized genders in matters of liberation.
John Okhiulu '21 is a poet, photographer and a musician majoring in African and African American studies and Human biology. Through various artistic mediums (moving images, words and music) and on multiple platforms (blog, website, YouTube and social media), John chronicles the present with an eye towards the future. His work will be to combine the power of poetry with the musical, magical spirit of conjure practice to create a music video that highlights the traditions and heritage of hip-hop, soul and afrofusion's shared legacies.
Linda Sol ’21 is a rapper and poet with an already impressive list of music tracks under her belt. An Urban Studies major, Linda’s music aims to find balance between art that pushes the boundaries of social justice and art for its own inherent beauty and the joy it brings. For her project, Linda will be creating an EP centered around Puerto Rican migration, serial displacement, cultural preservation, Chicago, and identity. Her EP project is continuously inspired by her own journey with identity and her senior research.
Faatimah Solomon '21 is a writer and poet who majors in African and African American Studies and Human Biology. She will be creating an arts archival document about Sudanese diasporic communities with a focus on the poetics and realities of revolution, exile, and family. This will be a kaleidoscopic collection of stories, sounds, and photographs, along with her own poems about exiled diasporic communities and experiences.
Luke Williams is a graduate student in the Modern Thought & Literature School in the school of Humanities & Sciences. His research aims to examine the sociopolitical possibilities through a corporeal framework. Grounded within dance studies, Luke seeks to explore the power contained in the body. He draws upon the rich traditions of Black Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and African-American Literature.
Jamayka Young '21 is a poet and painter majoring in African and African American Studies. Jamayka will be working on a text/performance that combines poetry, visual art, theory, spirit work and performance drawn from Black American identity formation and culture, the Black American practice of Hoodoo, Black Anti-Capitalist Feminism, community healing, queer theory and land work. The practice of undoing racism in her life includes meditating, connecting with ancestors, cooking food that tastes like home, gardening and learning from family and community elders here and abroad.