About the Exhibition

Curated by Bushmama Africa and Isha Rosemond, The Indigo Project is a this landmark multidisciplinary exhibition that center Black artists and their stories as means to combat the erasure of African American history, culture, and creativity.

The Indigo Project uplift the stories of African Diaspora history that has been severed from our collective memories: “indigo” as healing, as the Earth, as adornment, as connection; “project” as in a spiritual assignment intentionally planned to fulfill a specific purpose. Bushmama Africa, an initiated Priestess in African Traditional Religion, partnered with Isha Rosemond, a post-disciplinary artist and founder of the Black Freedom Fellowship, to uplift intergenerational and ancestral connection through the materials of Indigo, Cotton, and Denim.

Informed by academic research, decades of traditional African spiritual initiation, and the ethics of communal collaboration, The Indigo Project unravel narratives that bring the African Diaspora and Indigenous peoples back to the roots of their storytelling.

Opening Reception

December 9, 2022, 6–9PM PST

Meet the Artists

Abayomi Anli

Abayomi Brownfield is an artist and educator that currently resides in Oakland, California. She utilizes natural material, dyes, and painting to inquire about healing and reconnecting with Afro-Indigenous traditional ways of being. Through the use of personal, collective narratives and mythology, she unearths stories that have been washed out in the framework of America—visualizing a Black future that honors ancestral ways of being, prioritizing revolution that is deeply rooted in healing collectively, and with the earth. She holds a B.A. degree from Mills College and was a Root Division fellow for the Black Artist Fellowship.

Ashara Ekundayo

Ashara Ekundayo is a queer Black feminist interdisciplinary independent curator, visual maker, cultural theologian, arts organizer whose creative practice is rooted in joy-informed pedagogies and the study and creation of Black archives, site-responsive ceremony, and the specific expertise of Black womxn of the African Diaspora to reimagine collective liberation strategies. Her primary mediums are digital photography, screen print and installation. She is Founder and Lead Steward at the philanthropic platform Artist As First Responder which serves as a container for imaginations and inquiries for creatives working at the intersection of design, technology and activism to heal communities and save lives, as well as Co-Founder of Black [Space] Residency. In February 2023 she will take up residency as the inaugural Curatorial Research Fellow at the Muholi Arts Institute in Cape Town, South Africa.

Bryan Keith Thomas

Born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Bryan Keith Thomas received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1996. Thomas Currently resides in Oakland, California, where he works as an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, in San Francisco & Oakland, CA. Thomas received the “White House Honor” as a guest of First Lady Laura Bush, for work with the Art in Embassies Program (Washington, DC.) His work has also been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally at Art Basel (Miami, Fl), Meridian Gallery (San Francisco, CA); the Joyce Gordon Gallery (Oakland, CA) ; Gallery Guichard (Chicago, IL) ; ArtJaz Gallery (Philadelphia, PA) ; E&S Gallery (Louisville, KY) the American Embassy (Dakar, Senegal) ; Du Sable Museum (Chicago, IL) among others. His paintings are also included in several private collections across the United States.

Bushmama Africa

Bushmama Africa is a spiritual Life Coach, Published Illustrator and an in-demand Healer helping people enlighten, empower and engage with their ancestors to elevate their lives. She has been an exhibitor, performer and Curator for the “The Black Woman is God’’ Movement. Bushmama Africa wears many creative hats as a multiple disciplinary artist; painter, graphic designer, doll maker, jeweler and writer. Her art practice is connected to her spiritual practice. She is an initiated priestess in the Lucumi tradition and her spiritual assignments become the work she creates and the exhibitions she curates.

Stephen Hamilton

Stephen Hamilton is a mixed-media artist, researcher, and arts educator living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently a Second Year Ph.D. Student in Harvard’s AAAS (African And African American Studies) Department. His research focuses on the indigenous textile industries of southern Nigeria. Hamilton has been an exhibiting artist for the past ten years. These include solo and collaborative exhibitions at the Medicine Wheel Spoke Gallery, Boston MA, (2020) and The Museum of the National Center for African American Artists, Boston MA (2016).  Hamilton has worked on temporary site-specific large-scale mixed media textile and sculpture installations for the past four years. These include “The Founder’s Project,” previously located at the Bruce C. Bolling building In Boston MA (2018-2019), and “Stitched Into Memory,” previously located at Atlantic Wharf, also in Boston MA (2017). Hamilton has work in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

Isha Rosemond

Isha Rosemond is an Ayitian-American post-disciplinary artist whose works use somatic poetry to explore the distance between colonial documentation and African Diasporic truth-telling. Isha is the founder of the Black Freedom Fellowship, an international rest residency that offers resources for BIPOC artists/activists to create vital futures. They are a 2022 Curator-in-Residence at SOMArts San Francisco, 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Mirante Xique Xique in Bahia, Brazil, and a 2021 California Artist Council Individual Artist Fellow.

Nikesha Breeze

Nikesha Breeze is originally from Portland, Oregon Nikesha Breeze lives and works in the high desert of Taos, New Mexico, on the unceded land of the Taos Pueblo People. Nikesha is an African American descendant of the Mende People of Sierra Leone, and Assyrian American Immigrants from Iran. Nikesha has shown work both nationally and internationally, within multiple museums, galleries, art fairs and in featured collections. In 2021 Nikesha’s, 5000 sg ft. solo exhibition Four Sites of Return; Ritual, Remembrance, Reparation, Reclamation gained national acclaim and was featured in American Art Collector, Hyperallergic, Metalsmith Magazine and the NY times. Nikesha was awarded international recognition at the 2018 International ARTPRIZE exhibition, winning the juried 3D Grand Prize Award as well as the Contemporary Black Arts Award, for their Sculptural installation: 108 Death Masks: A communal prayer for Peace and Justice. In 2019 Nikesha was invited to Ghana to work as a visiting artist on the historical Nymkimkym Installation of African History, created by international award winning artist Kwame Acoto Bamfo.

Courtney Desiree Morris

Courtney Desiree Morris born 1983, Fort Ord, CA. Courtney Desiree Morris is a visual and conceptual artist and an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the forthcoming book, To Defend This Sunrise: Black Women’s Activism and the Authoritarian Turn in Nicaragua (Rutgers University Press). As an artist, her work is primarily concerned with ancestral memory, ritual work, ecology, climate change, death, mourning and funerary practice, and black feminist aesthetics. Her work focuses primarily on examining ancestral narratives and everyday ritual aesthetics among communities throughout the African Diaspora, with a particular emphasis in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and West Africa. She works primarily in the fields of large-format portrait and landscape photography, experimental video, performance, social practice, and installation art. She has shown work and performed nationally and internationally at the National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston, Jamaica), the Ashara Ekundayo Gallery (Oakland), the Photographic Center Northwest (Seattle, WA), the San Francisco LGBT Center, Root Division (San Francisco), the Frye Museum (Seattle, WA), the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid, Spain), the Jordan Schnitzer Museum (Eugene, OR), Fototeca (Havana, Cuba), the Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco). She lives and works in Berkeley, CA.

Rachel Parrish

Bay Area native, Rae Parrish, is a self-taught specialized seamstress of traditional regalia for Lukumi communities and beyond. Her love for creating compositions with fabric began as a child, with a huge interest in dressmaking for dolls. Rae Parrish continues her practice as a mixed media seamstress, while being an educator and writer.

About SOMArts’ Curatorial Residency Program
Designed to offer emerging to established curators tools to further their practice and explore timely social issues through arts & culture, SOMArts’ Curatorial Residents have transformed our large-scale exhibition space into a site of collaborative creation and innovation for over a decade.

Awarded through an open submission process, this unique program is a year-long incubator for curatorial research, mentorship, planning, and realization. SOMArts Curatorial Residency recipients receive the following support: a month-long exhibition with accompanying public programming, a project grant, and 9-months of planning and technical support, outreach assistance, and professional mentorship provided by SOMArts’ staff.

To learn more about click here