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.
Born in Oakland, Ryanaustin is a writer/curator/artists. His art practice combines collage, poetry, and performance. With his main concern being the metaphysics of blackness. By metaphysics of blackness, he means the philosophical practice of uncovering the being, property, possibility, and causality of blackness through a look at our historical cultural notions. At the moment he has two manuscripts in the works for publishing How to Bend a Nigger and Strike: Poems Out Loud. And if you’re lucky, you might find him at E.M. Wolfman Bookstore working on a new project.
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.
Born in Oakland California Christian Johnson is a writer, image maker, and film curator. His work aims to create multi-layered revolutionary images of the black body in motion. Earlier this year he finished an artist residencey at E.M. Wolfman. In April he opened for an evening with Yrsa Daly Ward hosted by Matatu. He is currently in post-production on the short film "A Moment of Truth + Sin."
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.