The Black Aesthetic is a creative organization, whose mission is to curate and assemble both a collective and distinct understanding of Black visual culture. We pose the question:
What is the Black aesthetic sensibility and what does it look like to you?
By working with artists, writers, filmmakers, and designers. We cultivate work that asks our audience to consider their relationship to Black art. Based in Oakland, we are invested in developing a community who will participate and engage with our mission. When you support The Black Aesthetic, you are actively supporting a network of Black Artists.Through film screenings, publications, and product development we want to add to a growing collection of artistic visions that are grounded in place, body, lived-experience and are responsive to its respective environment.
Founding member of The Black Aesthetic, Ryanaustin Dennis is an Oakland based curator/artist/writer. His practice is concerned with how 20th and 21st century experimental performance, film, and writing histories are shaped by the metaphysics of blackness. He has done curatorial work for E.M. Wolfman Bookstore and is a Southern Exposure Curatorial Council Fellow. He is currently working on a manuscript How to Bend a Nigger.
Photo by Dan Morrison
Leila Weefur lives & works in Oakland, CA. She received her MFA from Mills College in 2016. Her work uses language as a material, which manifests in video, installation, and works on paper. She uses video as a central element in investigating how an individual is impacted by the shifting boundaries of language and how these shifting cultural boundaries can create an environment where identities are formed. She is a recipient of the Hung Liu award and recently received an artist fellowship at Kala Art Institute. Weefur has exhibited her work in local and national galleries including Southern Exposure and SOMArts Gallery in San Francisco, Betti Ono in Oakland, and Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, New York.
Zoé Samudzi is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of spaces including The New Inquiry, Warscapes, Truthout, ROAR Magazine, Teen Vogue, and Bitch Media, among others.
She is presently a Sociology PhD student at the University of California, San Francisco in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her academic work includes biomedicalization theory, structural productions of race and gender, and transgender health.
Jamal Batts is a doctoral student in the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. His work considers representations of morbidity, death, and disease in black and queer performance and visual culture.
Malika "Ra" Imhotep
Malika "Ra" Imhotep is a twerkwave black feminist writer/root worker from Atlanta, GA currently pursuing a doctoral degree in African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her thinking engages black femme performance aesthetics and cultural production throughout the Black Diaspora. Her creative praxis is invested in a textual and performative enjoyment of undisciplined movement, the historical present, black obscenities, black spiritual practices and other blackityblk happenings.