Ashara Ekundayo, Curator

About Ashara

Ashara Ekundayo is a Detroit-born, Oakland-based, inter-disciplinary independent curator, artist, creative industries entrepreneur and organizer working internationally across cultural, spiritual, civic, and social innovation spaces.  Through her company AECreative Consulting Partners she places artists and cultural production as essential in equitable design practices, real estate development, and movement building. Some of her ventures Evolve Oakland (formally known as Impact Hub Oakland), Omi Arts Project + Space, and Ashara Ekundayo Gallery gained international attention for their groundbreaking methodology and courageous programming and have been featured in publications such as Black Enterprise, Forbes and The Guardian. Ashara is also a “pleasure activist” and her creative arts practice epistemology requires an embodied commitment to recognizing joy in the midst of struggle.Currently she serves as Chief Creative Catalyst for the Bay Area Girls & Womxn of Color Collaborative, sits on the Advisory Board of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, and is the Co-Founder of See Black Women – a curatorial collective whose mission is to center and present an understanding of Black feminist thought and creative culture through exhibition, publication and policy.  Her new media platform and forthcoming book, “Artist As First Responder” excavates, documents, 

and nurtures the next generation of cultural workers whose practices save lives. (photo credit Bethanie Hines Photography) -

"Genocidio" by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi "We Still Here x Defend Puerto Rico"

What Is "Artist As First Responder?" #AAFR


It is my premise after 30 years of informal and formal study that at each junction, when there is a Disaster or  when there is a Drastic Urgent Need that it is our Creative/Artistic selves who emerge to forge Solutions – indeed Interventions. This creative work saves lives and often takes place in the form of ceremony. 

What I know is that artists respond at the edges of Birth and Death by rescuing, making, and stewarding creative pursuits on the frontline edges of catastrophe and celebration — as in hurricane, as in border patrol, land grabs, dog parks, and  750 sq. ft. Downtown studio apartments that cost $3,000, as 

in a “ring shout” for healing

and  as-in “my Momma just died” please sing to me. ``  

"Artist As First Responder" is an interactive platform with digital media and print ephemera including a coffee table art book highlighting the work of International Artists whose creative practices save lives and heal communities." Ashara Ekundayo

(banner images from Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi "We Still Here x Defend Puerto Rico" - Comerio)