By: Kibibi Ajanku, Director of Equity and Inclusion at GBCA
Who am I? I am a woman! My name is Kibibi Ajanku. I make and present ethnically charged art. Art, artistry, artists, and art forms are my delight, and I celebrate creativity in all forms. But, to be more exact, my passion embodies the thrust of the movement of the African Diaspora. My projects include, but are not limited to, contemporary art and artifacts, performance art and visual art, and are most often infused with music, movement, and folkways. My work embodies research, identity, and the gathering of elements of African retention, in hopes of evoking intuitive memories that reach back into ancestral histories and stories that impact the here and the now.
That being said, I work for the “greater good”. I choose to use the beauty of my personal ethnicity as a starting place for connection and remove resistance by utilizing art as a context for navigation. Through art, I get to shine a light on the nuances of identity that continually plague us as human beings. We are frail and fearful and always worried about differences. This shows up in everything from our politics to our day-to-day treatment of each other. But by using art as a pathway, I find a place where resistance can melt into a spirit of openness and acceptance; a place where understanding and empathy can thrive; a place where positive working relationships can form because there is a power to imagine productively; a place where there is the influence to manifest a vision; a place where there is the courage to dream big with a willingness to share universally; and also, a place where radical experimentation and deep communication can happen.
And though I see the deeply troubling difficulties of the world, I am ever hopeful. My legacy revolves around utilizing the understanding of who we have been, to clearly state who we are, and thus define who we can be. I believe in art as a tool for activism. It is the most effective and creative device for social justice. In truth, we are all members of one gigantic global village, and we are a community. It is an unavoidable reality that we do actually need each other. Art is the perfect conduit to strengthen the exploration of universal civic value, increased group involvement, and improved communal engagement.
Who am I? I am a woman! My name is Kibibi Ajanku. I am an activist artist working for social justice. I imagine a day and time when there is balance, consideration, respect, and fair treatment for all people. This is at the core as an ongoing and ever-evolving effort of my life journey. I stand on the shoulders of the past with work that is rich, diverse, and creative. It is ancient while at the same time cutting edge and always changing. It is my belief that we exist within a time when there is a vast amount of opportunity if we access, envision, and activate creative and intentional approaches to the fair distribution of wealth, opportunity, and privilege.