In celebration of International Women’s Day and in collaboration with the Museum of the African Diaspora, memoirist and travel writer Faith Adiele, poet and essayist Tonya Foster, and visual artist Asya Abdrahman discuss the ways they make place and navigate the literary, artistic and academic worlds in which they live and work. The event includes presentations by the artists and offers opportunities for visual and literary artists to respond to each other’s work, and takes place within in the context of the MoAD exhibition, Where Is Here, curated by Jacqueline Francis and Kathy Zarur.
Asya Abdrahman is a San Francisco-based mixed media and installation artist who considers the intersection of cultural identity, human rights and the environment in her work. Of Somali, Eritrean, and Ethiopian heritages, she fled her East African homeland during a time of regional wars. Abdrahman’s work promotes cultural and ecological survival, advanced through her use of human, natural, found, and recycled resources. In addition to exhibiting her art throughout the Bay Area, Abdrahman is the founder of Pay It Forward (PIF) Gallery in Oakland. She regularly produces and curates exhibitions at the historic Red Vic and contributes art and writing to Women Eco Artists Dialog. Her work is featured at MoAD in the current exhibition Where Is Here.
Faith Adiele was raised in the Pacific Northwest, and earned two MFAs from writing programs at the University of Iowa. She is the author of the travel memoir Meeting Faith, which won the PEN Open Book Award, and co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology. She’s completing a mixed-media family history inspired by My Journey Home, her PBS documentary about finding her Nigerian family, and her ebook/audiobook, The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems. She is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts and teaches at The Writers’ Grotto and VONA/Voices, where she launched the nation’s first writing workshop for travelers of color. Adiele lives in Oakland and runs a monthly African Book Club. Visit her at adiele.com and @meetingfaith.
Tonya M. Foster was born in Bloomington, Illinois and raised in New Orleans. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston. She is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna*, 2015) and co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, MiPoiesis, NYFA Arts Quarterly, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, the Macdowell Colony, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, Foster is an Assistant Professor of Writing & Literature and Graduate Writing at California College of the Arts.
Because We Come from Everything: Poetry and Migration
March 2017 Poetry Center programming appears under the sign of this line by Juan Felipe Herrera, in conjunction with 20+ member organizations from across the country constituting the newly formed Poetry Coalition