A showcase of Black Alaskan art
Black Alaskan Art Matters is a virtual art exhibition through Perseverance Theatre that aims to serve as an educational showcase for the vast terrain of Black artistic mediums living in Alaska. Visual, audio, performance and textile art are just a few of the varied mediums on display during this virtual experience during September 2020. Cultivating and providing space for Black artistic styles and leadership are ways the theatre can engage, uplift and amplify the Black voices of Alaska.
BAAM Curator Statement
A message from M.C. MoHagani Magnetek, Alyssa Quintyne, and Amable Rosa
It is not only important that the Alaskan arts community creates space and opportunity,
but it is paramount that we uplift Black artists as well because our cultural linguistic
perspectives that informs our respective artistic mediums are in fact central threads to
A.R.T. (All Real Things). In order to produce an Alaskan culture that is inclusive,
everyone must be present at the table as equals. It matters because the historical
archives are scarce with Black artists in Alaska. Surely here in 2020 one would think
there is equal representation in the arts however that is not the case. Representation in
arts is essential because there is no complete Alaskan arts scene if the recognition of
Black artist is minimal.
In “unprecedented times” BAAM is setting a precedent as this project is truly unique.
Yes, it is a Black arts show however that does not come close to explaining the
evolution of explosive artists on the scene. Placed in the context of African American
history, this moment in time is our Harlem Renaissance (1918-1930’s), a paroxysm of
artistry, intellect, creativity and cultural-social consciousness. This is taking place here
in Alaska amongst Black and POC artists who live in Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage,
Wasilla and through the state. All identities, cultures, and backgrounds encompassed in
Black communities are all here in one virtual space with a plethora of aesthetic arts
ranging from poetry, jewelry, music, social media content, performance to spoken word.
Collectively we are planting firm roots in the Alaskan landscape as well as the historical
archives, thus Black Alaskan Arts Matter forever.
Off-hand it is apparent that BAAM is not your typical art show in that one may ask, “How
is this art?” In our efforts to make our world better we must consider the array of
worldviews we possess. For many Black artists here in Alaska, seldom can our arts be
created for the sake of creating art. Often the mediums we use, the imagery we create,
the textiles we craft, and the performances we produce are created with the intention of
earning money. Yes, we are artists but because of racial inequality we must find ways to
support ourselves using all of our creativity tools. Life in Alaska is not easy by far…we
must survive to thrive. If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense is a saying from
African American linguistics that expresses the duality of creating art and earning a
Perseverance Theatre is here and now engaged on the frontlines of artistic cultural
change in Alaska, America and throughout the world by cultivating and providing space
for Black artistic styles and voices of Alaska. We as curators with the support of
Perseverance Theatre have composed a beautiful project that creates space,
opportunity and amplification for Black voices as well as educate Alaska and the world
about who we are as a people and as artists. We matter… as forward-thinking and
visionary artists representing breadth of Blackness right here in Alaska.
Chris Talley + Air Jazz
Shaelisa M. Anderson
Tina Bell is a nearly 40-year proud Alaskan. She is a graduate of Chugiak High School and a former student of UAA. She is a proud mother of 3 adult children, born and raised in Alaska, who call it their home. Tina is the eldest of three children, and her parents live on the East Coast.
Tina was introduced to art as a therapeutic tool at 16 and has loved it ever since. It became a great way to relieve stress and a healthy way of expressing her creativity. Her favorite things to paint are landscapes, scenery, animals, and motivational quotes. She also likes to incorporate temporary tattoos into her artwork.
In early adulthood she became a mother, and her artistic focus turned to kid-oriented projects like photography and cooking/baking. As her kids aged, she returned to art as a hobby. Painting canvases led to trying it also on ceramic tiles, wood and rocks.
Art is the venue that allows her to express herself in a variety of mediums. She is a proud participant in the worldwide Kindness Rock Project. Her favorite things to photograph are flowers, nature and people.
Tina's perspective about art is, "I love doing it because in art, nothing can be 'wrong'. For example, crooked trees, purple skies or lots of blank space with a little color are all considered great. Nothing has to be exact or perfect. The best masterpiece of any artist is the change that happens in them when they make a piece of art. It is basically a physical representation of their soul, which is why it's therapeutic. No matter in what medium used, you are releasing something inside of you - an image, a feeling, an emotion. This is why art is so powerful".
Ms. Bell has had no formal artistic training, and is currently completing her certification as a chemical dependency counselor and completing her associate’s degree in human services.
She believes the world already has plenty of ugly in it - the least she can do is add a little beauty. keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_downThis rock was found at Beluga Point. Acrylic paint and colored chalk were used to create this piece of salmon.
This photo was taken in summer 2020 after a rainstorm. I love how raindrops offer a magnified look into things in nature. I pour-painted a larger rock and the dipped this rock in the paint that had run off. I call them dip rocks. I pulled it up and was amazed at how the paint had formed into what almost looked like an abstract painting.
Deenay is a nerd who was born and raised in Anchorage, AK, but through her parents has roots in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Her initial career path was to be a concept artist for Square Enix, designing monsters and characters. As a teenager she won numerous local juried art shows. She even participated in the NAACP-ACTSO program which qualified her to compete nationally in Philadelphia, PA in 2004.
Her illustration dreams did not pan out, so she fell back on a different passion; Science! Deenay received her Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences in May 2017. Eventually she plans on going to grad school to pursue a Master of Science degree. For now, she works as a chemist in an environmental health lab, churning out volumes of semi-volatile organic compound data in order to keep Alaska’s soil and water clean. keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_downVenmo: @Deenay-Dunmore
My friends and I work with Denali Graphics and Frame to put on a Disability Awareness Art Show every October, and we made October 2019 Disability Employment Awareness Month through the Anchorage Municipality to remind them how important artists are to the economy. To participate in the art show, artists need to have any connection to any disability in any way and at any time. Please email me if you would like to participate in 2020, and let's keep the economic opportunities going!
This style of wearable art can be found at Denali Graphics and Frame off International Airport Road in Anchorage. I am happy to make custom orders. keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_down
Radiophonic Jazz began as a collaboration between two young men who unexpectedly discovered each other while in high school in Juneau, Alaska. They were drawn to each other through a shared interest in music and a number of other similarities. Both were exposed in utero to cocaine, both were adopted as infants into ethnically diverse families, both are one-half African American, and both are committed to writing and performing hip hop music.
Radiophonic Jazz has been making music together since 2016. They have performed at The Alaska Folk Festival and Juneau's Got Talent, as an opening act for Khu.Éex' and for Tribe Called Red and for Killah Priest, and at various local venues including at the Tiny Post Office Concerts. They are one of the first rap duos in Juneau, and the only rap artists who rap in Tlingit as well as English.
They draw on a number of influences to create their unique sound including Old School Hip Hop, Anime, and both the Tlingit and African American Cultures. Zen Hop, the name they've created for their music, incorporates Asian and Alaskan indigenous sounds into boom bap and lo-fi hip hop. Chinese zithers, Japanese strings, Native American flutes, Tlingit drumming rhythms, and contemporary music of all kinds find a place in their hip hop music.
Radiophonic Jazz is committed to sharing and promoting the music of Alaskan artists. Black Alaskan Art Matters is an opportunity to work towards this goal.
+ AIR JAZZ
This piece was created in response to recent events involving the murders of
George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by the police. As young black men, we needed
to make a statement in response to these terrible tragedies. We hope our music and
our lyrics will bring some light to tragedies such as these, and to all the very
serious challenges facing our country and the world. Our music is our response to
the culture around us, a testimony of truth as we see it and an expression of our
hope for the future.
Click the icon below to play.
Lance is an actor, singer and a composer who grew up in Los Angeles, California and spent his childhood singing in Holy Temple Baptist Church Choir for five years. In 2004, he decided to pack up his bags from California for a while and move to Juneau, Alaska, to be closer to his ilk and, a nemophilist, got pulled by the beauty of nature. While most artists stay put to finish his record, Lance needed a change of scenery while working.
Lance had a very rough juvenescence; children having a parent with a SUD are at risk of experiencing direct effects, such as parental abuse or neglect, or indirect effects, such as fewer household resources. He saw his mother’s struggle with the shame of his father's substance abuse. Then he realized society's "conspiracy of silence" was keeping him—and possibly millions of others—from adequately dealing with the experience that’s why his words- his singing always want to converse upon.
Before found his calling for acting, he toured and participated in many concerts with his biblical Choir group. Then finally he found his love and acted in various plays while attending Eliot school to know the full nine yards Lance attended Hollywood High School for the Performing Arts in 1988.
In late 2017-early 2018, Lance teamed up with the band ‘Garden of Agony’ as a manager and a executive producer for their songs and videos, emerged in a short musical event ‘Tribute to Archie Canavaugh’ from till date journey is absorbing.
Lance acted in a few commercials, but in 1993 "The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer" was his big breakthrough and also his first role in the film. His love for music grew in Alaska that he recorded with an artist Wolfpack and with many others. Lance performed at many clubs in Juneau Alaska until collaborating with Strange Paths.
Lance mock about his prior opinion on country music ‘I love all types of music. I use to hate country music but a friend got me to rethink my unyielding thoughts about the country and for about three years I've been listening to country, don't tell anyone.’
by Lance Mitchell
feat. Jessica, Jaden,
Piiyuuk Shields is a 26-year-old Afro-Yup’ik artist with ties to Greenville, Mississippi and
Toksook Bay, Alaska. She was taught traditional Yup’ik skin sewing by her maternal grandmother, Anguyaluk Martina John. Her art usually is made of a combination of sealskin, wolf hide, beaver hide, sea otter hide, calf skin and beads. Her goal is to keep the traditional art of Yup’ik/Inuit skin sewing alive and encourages other Afro-Yup’ik/Afro-Inuit to practice this art.
You can find her work on her Instagram page called Piiyuutiful by Piiyuuk @piiyuutiful Venmo: @Piiyuuk
Translation: Bladder Festival
Made of dyed seal intestine & seed beads
Translation: Wandering without reason.
Made of spotted seal, faux gold leather, and red seed beads.
Translation: The lost ones
Red represents the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Made of tanned sealskin, sunbleached sealskin, seed beads, and faux metallic leather backing.
Born and raised in Anchorage, AK.
Jay’s first love is music, being inspired from singers in his family. He started making his own music in 2011, and has been progressing ever since becoming his own sound. His musical influences are Aaliyah, Sade, Janet Jackson, and Maxwell. Jay wants to continue making music, and perform around the world. He has his own unique R&B vibe and visuals for his music. If you don’t know him well enough, his music will help you get to know him. All his songs are the different versions of him, in love, sad, hype, and much more! His music is more than just lyrics, it’s an experience. Everything about his visuals have meaning and shows parts of his personality. Jay is truly “walking art”. He hopes his music becomes an inspiration to the future generation, to believe in their craft and love what they do. Jay spends so much time perfecting his music visuals to give us insight on what it’s like to see the world through his eyes.” "GUAVA"
By Jay Simmons
from the album
keyboard_arrow_downThoughts, Thoughts, Thoughts
So many thoughts in my mind
How can I distinguish between the Demons and Mines?
My mind feels crowded
With voices invading space
How did the thoughts enter my mind
In the first place?
Maybe it’s the Devil
Conquering my mind
With thoughts of murder and suicide
I don’t understand
What’s going on. I don’t have control of these thoughts
I have tried and tried with the thoughts I have fought
It appears they will never go away
No, I am not okay
I am not me
I feel as though I am living another life
A life full of darkness
And not of the light
If only the voices in my head
I would be like how everyone else appears
But I am not even myself
Who am I?
Looking in the mirror I ask myself
I am a human
In a crisis. Life hurts and has betrayed me
How will I ever become the person I yearn to be?
Voices in My Head SHEVONDA BURKHART
I live the day
You aim to abuse
The insults you speak are not true
I am no longer the fool
You continue to disrupt my life
I continue to survive
I am the real winner
Your voice becomes dimmer
To my ears
I am no longer in fear
Shevonda Burkhart is a proud African American woman who happens to be a Poet as well. Shevonda was raised in Los Angeles and now resides in Juneau, Alaska with her husband and two children. She is a United States Navy veteran and a recent graduate from the University of Alaska Southeast receiving an associate degree in Business Administration.
Shevonda began writing poetry while attending Locke High School in Los Angeles, California and would create poetry based on love and different events that she had witnessed. Poetry has always been a way for her to express herself. She continued writing throughout the years and eventually decided to take a break from writing.
It was until she had her first crisis and recovering from Schizoaffective Disorder which is a mental illness that shares symptoms of Schizophrenia that she had to start all over and find her way again. Through writing poetry about her experiences and journey of living with a mental disorder she began to find herself again and received strength, healing, and courage through her transition.
Shevonda seeks to provide insight, hope and awareness to the unique living of those that do live with a mental illness through her poetry. She lives with Schizoaffective Disorder which is a part of her but not dictating who she is and she acknowledges herself as a Black Queen living each day with no shame only wanting to inspire others to live the best lives that they can regardless of their circumstances.
Always know that I love you more than words can express
The joy and happiness you bring I will always accept
My True Loves
You have given me a reason to continue to live
I Love you two and my love to you I will continue to give
You both are so beautiful inside and out so rich within
You both have developed to become my children and treasured friends
I will continue to live based on the love you both give to me
Your true love towards me I want to always receive
I Love you precious gifts of mine
My love for you will remain beyond the end of time
keyboard_arrow_downSHAELISA M. ANDERSON
ShaeLisa M. Anderson is a Black Creole actress born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Both sides of her family were stationed here in their years serving in the military and transplanted. ShaeLisa’s history with theatre started from a young age, passionate about the arts mirroring her mother’s fascination with theatre, and her father’s drive for success in the music industry. Her most active years in local theatre were 2015-2020.
The video you will be or have seen is a recreation of one her favorite roles she has played; Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and grill, which was Directed by produced locally at the Anchorage Community Theatre. This project was particularly special because a normally solo act was split into four ages of Billie Holiday to showcase more than just one black female artist. She was cast in this role despite her fears of her voice not being conventionally attractive and being quite inexperienced. Anchorage community theatre took a chance on her and many other black artists in the anchorage community in their mission to diversify the local theatre scene. With that show, it opened many possibilities, potential roles, and boosted her confidence in her skills as an actress and as an artist - and THAT is why she so heavily believes in providing opportunities for Black Alaska Arts and Artists Matter. The song, “Strange Fruit” is a cultural staple piece in American history. During the midst of a pandemic, the BLM movement gained traction once again as another name, George Floyd, and then another, Breonna Taylor joined a massive list of Black lives lost at the hands of police brutality and a system of oppression built to silence and illuminate black voices. Strange Fruit is a song that grips you emotionally, and describes the horrors of yesteryear, and forces you to think about the soulless act of what was so very common practice in Billie’s heyday.
ShaeLisa’s goal as an actress in anchorage is to provide a voice in stories that would not normally be heard and hopes that perhaps a little girl, or even a discouraged woman that looks just like her that happens to see her performing, can believe that she can do it too, and that her talent and her voice matters.
Please encourage all Black artists from young to old, to follow their dreams, and to express themselves through their art, no matter the obstacles they face. Strange Fruit
Shaelisa M. Anderson
Bayinna has always expressed herself with a passion for art and creativity. Born in Cleveland Ohio, and raised in San
Diego, she often performed at talent show events, house parties, and created dance routines. As she grew into an
adult she made use of her artistic sense of being by hosting events, directing, producing, and also as a performance
artist. As an Alaskan artist It is safe to say that since settling down in Wasilla Alaska, she has really stepped into her
role and taken control of her artistic presentation. Bayinna has participated and organized events around the globe
including South America, Tokyo, and Thailand. Being a world traveler, and a people person has given Bayinna a
unique opportunity to bridge the view of her art on a level that reaches a global community. Bayinna is not just an
artist she is sober, a wife and a lover of people. Bayinna hopes the art she brings to the world can be a tool for
healing and inspiration. For Bayinna being an artist is the only way to live. In times of turmoil, art and producing art
has been for Bayinna, the means for growth inside and out. In all that she does as an artist, the goal is to connect
with others, to elevate the mind and heart, and most of all inspire the desire to walk in their artistic goals and dreams
one step at a time. The vision for all of the art presented points to community, unity, and cooperation. Bayinna
believes in order for art to make a change in our society, we need these as a foundation. These things will lift up
individuals, and will better present the passion for living and being a member of society.
Baina @ Mondy Love
The Baina Show
keyboard_arrow_downEating a Zebra Tarantula
BAAM is giving black creators a platform and a way to be seen. Building my platform gave me a voice and allowed me to show another side of AJ. My personality. It’s extremely hard to grow as a black creator but outlets like BAAM allow us to shine and reach people that may not have organically came across my content.
The inspiration for my creativity is living life to the fullest & being my most authentic self. So many years I’ve spent trying to conform and fit into what my family and people around me told me I should fit. Until one day I realized that just wasn’t my plan. I’ve been creating content consistently for 3-4 years. My goal as an artist is to continue to make people laugh. Quitting my job would be nice but if I don’t gain any more followers I’ll be ok! The community I’ve been able to build is amazing! Fight at the AK State Fair
Letting the person in front
of me decide my order
"hello? may I speak to whom this concerns please?"
-- "yes this is whom?"
That was the call i get
Before i rush to the hospital to confirm the news
Now I get scared by unexpected phone calls
In the afternoon
my brother just got dented in his car
by four bullet wounds
like any other day, After work,
he was driving home to us
But hearing him get shot with no particular reason
From my county’s police, aren’t you suppose to feel safe for us?
I will repeat myself clear,
I didn’t hear no liable evidence of his action
To be suspicious or suspected in the occurrence
All I heard was
A black male, driving a BMW,
through a neighborhood
with the white picket fences
Bumping his music, minding his business
I guess that was "a good reason"
for the policeman to pull him over with
Because as always, black men seem
To always be in these situations
I'm scared for my cousins, brothers, uncles, and my friends
I wish I didn't have to get up every damn day and pray for them
Because on paper- they have every right as a citizen,
In a country that appropriates but never love them
"Could you hear us Lord?"
I'm a brown baby and my enemies
are already planted In this system
that I never asked for!
my baby got crayons in his cupboard,
how am I suppose to explain to him
that we live in a world where my brother got shot over a color?
How am I suppose to express to him how dangerous he's already labeled
because of his skin?
How am I suppose to live with the fact that my baby at any time,
could end up in the news just like them?
Another trayvon, another Ahmad-
Another unarmed, loved,
racially targeted black man
Oh and I would be sick if my baby
Became another hashtag like them
See the news, I hold my breathe til im blue
It's a repeating every day
Reminding me the world
don't stand with mines
Racism is taught,
I wonder if their teachings would ever
Become a conviction for them in crossing the line
Even if we kneeled silently-
They'll still throw stones
This country was built on my ancestors blood and bones
So when we riot and decide to burn the country
We built, how are we wrong?
There shouldn't be a reason,
Why I have to fear for my own
who "fits the description"
If I asked a white person:
"would you trade your life to be black in America?"
They wouldn't even stand for that question
Because they see it, and standby
Some of them don't want to get in
this "Ugly mess" that they've created
They argue, "well I can't take responsibility for my great grandparents decision"
Nah, but you standing there and remaining silent while you watch the injustice
Is still a decision
Don't you get it or choose not to listen?
"Innocent til proven guilty"
that don't apply to us,
Why is it that some of my people are too concerned in killing each other
Then to stand for us? Im saying we we have a common enemy, open your eyes for us
Why are you just recording the injustice?
Why don't you save him?
Some may argue they are scared for their own life because we are labeled "aggressive"
But You think Malcom, Martin, Or Rosa was scared in their time where the segregation still existed?
Buts it's crazy even when laws are placed,
even after a few hundreds years of escaping, of walkins, and sit ins-
WE STILL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR WHAT WE ARE BLESSED IN
That is the melanin in our skin
For centuries entitled white people condemn us for that fact like a biblical sin
That's right, Because even when you advocate for your life?
Our kin with shared skin gets slaughtered
It's not just our men, it's our women
They are after our sons & out for daughters
It's bad enough every other week
I see another version of me killed by lawful badges
who swore to protect them
Ironically, the community they never grew up in!
hoodie on, unarmed, and born with two strikes against him
But America's "hero" behind a badge racially targeted him with his weapon-
There's no justice, or law, just the word "enforcement" imprinted by our blood in their system
But than I pick up my phone,
23 year old African American man shot in police alteration
He was reaching for a gun, they said,
He was a thug they said
My brother didnt even own not a single firearm, nor did his past
Had anything to do with the situation
Missing out on the simple message
A black man who simply was on his way from work
Didn’t make it home because of the incident,
Because yet again he "fits the description"
This familiar exposure of MANY undercover racists
We should all see each other as human
But Amerikkka's sight divides us in colors
And as long there is fear from a system
That will bluntly never stand for us
The war for our humanity
The march for our rights
The voices for our justice
will NEVER BE OVER
The Definition of Injustice/AmeriKKKa's Sin
by Zo Lealai
I'm Zoryna Lealai, 21, mixed raced. I'm from Honolulu, HI but somehow ended up in Anchorage, AK almost 6 years ago. I love summer rain, 90s-00s RNB, & Anything with shrimp in it.
I'm a community youth activist front lining for youth homelessness and anything that falls into that category before, during, and afterwards of that period. My goal is to use any of my art skills, from drawing to poetry, to communicate and unite the community I'm in. Whether that is discussing the health and safety of the public or the trauma and recovery of our youth. Using my voice as power. Poetry is one of my many forms of power.