Trans-disciplinary artist, Class of 2021
ashanti Owusu-Brafi is a trans-disciplinary artist who uses abstract art to challenge our views of community and explore the intersection of trauma and marginalization. She lends her artistry to the UChicago community this January through Hot Chocolate Night, a UChicago tradition for first years that is opening up to the entirety of the College this year. Carrying the theme of connectivity she has experienced here at The College, ashanti designs a mug that bears ivy, and interconnecting arms wrapping themselves around a gargoyle-like center.
The Senior Class Gift committee is focusing on rallying the Class of 2024 to support the arts and artists like ashanti during the month of January. Beginning January 15, If you give $20.21 to any UChicago arts program (check out this list of suggested programs to support) you’ll get the mug designed by ashanti sent to you as a thank you gift!
You can find ashanti’s work on her website: areyouanti.com and connect with her through Instagram, @areyouanti.
See a closeup of ashanti’s design and read more about her, her activism and unique artistic background in her bio below.
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“UChicago has become my home away from home where winter in the Windy City can be cold… like really cold. I stayed warm snuggling on the Harper Library couches studying till the late hours with friends and phenomenology. I’m not a coffee drinker so hot cocoa is always a go to. My favorite recipe is a vegan ginger spiced hot cocoa with agave!
“Since my time at UChicago, my creative curiosity has led me to join an art collective formed by undergraduates, Epsilon Club. We hosted live shows and DIY art galleries. Now, I am currently launching an art collective, REVOLVE: Curator Collective that aims to uplift marginalized voices, bodies, and ideologies focusing on Black and Indigenous Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) individuals. Additionally, through the University, I have been a part of Doc Films the student-run film society, the Festival of the Arts RSO, the Sliced Bread Literary Magazine, and am currently designing a clothing line for the fashion RSO, MODA. Please check them out if you are looking for more art communities on campus! Also I will plug Black Light Magazine and the African and Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) which have great creative direction projects quarterly!
“I have spent a chunk of my academic career being shaped by the non-profit sector through the neighboring Experimental Station in Woodlawn. I was introduced to the ways art can intersect with the “workplace” through communication and teaching within my community. I also have had the privilege to work with Patric McCoy and the Diasporal Rhythms Art Collection to understand the importance of legitimizing ways of collecting art outside of the normative gallery space. Through my art practice I have integrated these experiences through representations and abstractions of ideas centered around community and the multiplicities of communication. I use intense juxtapositions and absurdity to investigate critiques of the painful trauma of colonial and imperial impacts on the Black Queer Indigenous and displaced body. Now more than ever, these are important conversations to have with the current Black Lives Matter movement situated during a global pandemic with the loss of life of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, among countless others named and unnamed that have been subject to police violence.”