Ashara Saran Ekundayo

Artist in Residence, 2022

portrait of Ashara Ekundayo

Artist Statement

Through my interdisciplinary art practice, I am always asking: “What worlds can be extrapolated from the centering of Black women’s imaginings, spells and bearing?”


In an attempt at resisting the violence of my own erasure and misunderstanding, my social practice art-work (which is primarily curatorial), is realized through a joy-informed, womanist politic and knowing that reimagines how one creates and travels through spaces and identity via exhibition and public, and often intimate site-responsive ceremony. Additionally, through the study and deconstruction of community-based archives and the production of ephemera and commentary that center Blackness, and the specific experiences of Black women and femmes, I am asserting a theological vision that insists our physical and emotional bodies are sites of transportation and transcendence that invoke spiritual motivation versus a psycho-political canon that perpetuates a narrative misogynoir.

While at Headlands

For the past two decades I have been informally documenting the radical organizing and healing work of contemporary Black creative arts practitioners through archival research, photography, printmaking, published and unpublished conversations, and exhibitions, and have amassed a large and diverse amount of content. While at Headlands I will spend time transcribing sections of this multi-media archive for a book project which will share stories, insights, and images from Black women and femme artists, curators, philanthropists, and educators working independently as well as inside community organizations, institutions, and philanthropic foundations. I will also create a series of visual meditations on joy and grief in communion with the black sand and Pacific Ocean at Rodeo Beach.

Selected Work

“How 9/11 Solidified the Need for Artist As First Responder,” Smithsonian Center for Folklife, September 10, 2021.


Artist as First Responder, founded by Ashara Ekundayo.


StoryWindows, A Curated Art Walk in Downtown Oakland, curated by Ashara Ekundayo.

Breaking the Silence Town Hall Oakland, Executive Producer, Ashara Ekundayo; Director/Producer, JJ Harris; Cinematographers, Benjamin Michel, Jennifer Harris.


“Ashara Ekundayo in Conversation with Patrisse Cullors,” BLATANT, June 16, 2021.


“Ashara Ekundayo in Conversation with Sabrina Nelson & Lezley Saar,” BLATANT, May 20, 2021.


“Ashara Ekundayo in Conversation with Kenturah Davis & Sam Vernon,” BLATANT, March 16, 2021.