Bearden 100

#83 Quilting Time - Detroit Institute of Arts - 1986
By Romare Bearden

Selected by Shani Jamila

Quilting Time. 1986. Mosaic of glass tiles, installed in the permanent collection of The Detroit Institute of Arts. 16 x 13'

Romare Bearden’s body of work is a constant source of inspiration for me. I so appreciate his unwavering commitment to telling the truths of our people and to depicting our multifaceted culture with such talent and grace. This particular piece is an example of his masterful construction, which is at once intricate yet accessible.

Shani Jamila

Artist, Traveler, Human Rights Advocate

Title: No More Walls Date: September 2012 Medium: Collage, paper on mylar Dimensions: 24”x 36”

Shani Jamila is an artist, cultural worker and staunch human rights advocate.  Her career and studies have taken her to thirty five countries over five continents, a journey that is reflected in her art, community work and media commentary.

Throughout her travels, Shani has spoken about African American culture at global gatherings like the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Switzerland, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development in Turkey and the World Social Forum in India. Her cosmopolitan perspective and eclectic experiences inform her photocollage, fiber art and creative writing. Her visual art has been exhibited at the City College of New York, Evergreen College, The Rising Arts Gallery and the historic Dorsey’s Gallery; displayed at the Dwyer Cultural Center; and will be included in an upcoming Rush Arts homage to Romare Bearden.  She has performed in venues including the Phillips Gallery, Le Poisson Rouge, Busboys and Poets, Ohio University and Bohemian Caverns. Her writing has been published in collections such as Race, Class and Gender; Black Renaissance Noire; Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues; Colonize This!; The Words, Beats and Life Journal and The Encyclopedia of Sociology.

Shani believes deeply in art’s power to transform lives and has devoted many years to providing the creative vision and content of programs that service that mission. She currently directs the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, where she is leading an innovative fusion of art and human rights education.  An avid supporter of initiatives that merge culture and social justice, she chaired a committee of esteemed professors and global experts consulted about effective arts education models for the National Cares Mentoring Movement and worked as the lead writer of the chapter on culture in the NCMM publication, A New Way Forward: Healing What’s Hurting Black America. Jamila also served in an advisory capacity with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was the first alumni member to sit on the national selection committee for the New Voices fellowship-- which allocated resources to rebuild the post-Katrina Gulf Coast.  For six years, Shani hosted and produced a weekly talk show about the arts and society on the Pacifica Radio network (WPFW). She is currently a regular contributor to The Spin on New York City’s WBAI 99.5FM.

Her work has been recognized by her alma mater, Spelman College, who featured her portrait and words in a permanent exhibition entitled “A Choice to Change the World” alongside luminaries including Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde and Michelle Obama. She has been awarded multiple grants for post-graduate study at institutions including Cornell University and the University of the West Indies, where she spent a year as a Fulbright fellow.  Her work has also received international recognition in publications such as the Trinidad Guardian and Express newspapers, the London based literary magazine Sable, and ESSENCE -- as "One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World."