This February, we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments and plight of Black people in the United States. Throughout American history, African Americans have long contributed to the development of the nation despite centuries of intense adversity. In honor of these accomplishments and values, our inspiration segment features stories from renowned black artists such as Titus Kaphar, Theaster Gates, and Edmonia Lewis, “the first professional BIPOC sculptor in the United States and the first to achieve international acclaim.”
February is also the month of Valentine’s Day- show some love to our current stories by Seeds scholars Ajadah Enyonam Simms, Abigail Lee, Jasmine Maddox, Kyrone Gladden, Fateema Akter, and River Bartosik-Murray. These scholars are a talented group who detail their future goals and the steps they will take in accomplishing their dreams, whether it is in the realm of the arts or elsewhere. Although February is recognized as a month to celebrate and learn the history and plight of African Americans, Black history is part of American history, and we continue to make efforts in recognizing, honoring, learning, and unlearning about the history of the people who helped shape the nation.
Ajadah Enyonam Simms
My Life’s Mission
Ghanaian/Jamaican (African American)
Through art, I assure this little Black girl (still growing up) that she has the right and privilege to a voice and the space she takes up. I know that visual art is an opportunity not just for my own sake but also for the confidence of a generation of others.
From portraits to cityscapes, a blank page is the starting point for all drawings. Upon its eggshell reams, I love how an empty page holds infinite possibilities of the artist’s mark— deciding whether the paper’s fate will be a dallying doodle or a complex composition.
Igniting the Spark
I noticed that this is something I could be successful at if I just kept with it. It would be my dream to work for a gaming company as a concept or storyboard artist. I have a lot to learn, and I hope to be happy and content with the art I produce in the future.
I am interested in learning sculpture and painting, and I also want to improve my skills in drawing and digital illustration. When I graduate high school, I want to find a profession where I can create my hours and work with people I trust because I want to be my own boss and work my own hours.
Blessed and Cursed
I was blessed and cursed with the need to create art from birth. When I was young and learning to write, I would write my name backward and upside down because I saw the shapes of the letters, as opposed to the meaning of the letters. After school, when I was young, I would come home, not talk and just paint.
Artist Titus Kaphar On His Debut Documentary, And How It Centers The Need For Black Artists To Engage Black Communities
Sculptor Edmonia Lewis Shattered Gender And Race Expectations In 19th-Century America