All posts by: ShaniJamila

Shani is proud to be the voice of this campaign, produced by TIME’S UP Now. “The women running for office this cycle needed a squad of impassioned, dedicated activists to speak up and speak out. And you showed up — every single day. Thank you for your relentless fight — but we can’t let up now. #WeHaveHerBack is for more than the leaders of today—it’s for those still to come. Stay involved by texting HER BACK to 306-44 and continue to call out sexist and racist political attacks and news coverage when you see it. Because when it comes to women leaders — today, tomorrow, and always: We. Have. Her. Back.”

On Saturday, July 11th, Shani will be talking about her practice as an abstract painter with Aimee M. Everett, Adrienne Gaither and Niama Safia Sandy. If you’d like to join in, click here to register. 

July 2021: ADAMA presents Midnight Oil, a curated experience featuring artists and the music that inspires them. Artists from around the world have been invited to create and share music playlists that provide the soundtrack to their creative process. In addition to a link to the playlist, the museum features a brief interview with each artist about their selections and samples of their work.

This week we catch up with Shani Jamila: artist, scholar and host of the acclaimed podcast series “Lineage.” Shani’s work is deeply engaged in genealogy and memory using her own family’s detailed records as a source. Her podcast series Lineage features intimate interviews with acclaimed artists at the intersection of art and social activism. Check out Shani’s playlist and learn more about what moves her.

Join Shani Jamila for an artist talk sponsored by the African Diasporic Art Museum of Atlanta on Sunday May 10th. She will be in conversation with artists Shanequa Gay, Andrea Chung, and Ebony G. Patterson. The panel will be moderated by the Curator of Education at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Makeba Dixon Hill. The ADAMA Arts Salon series features conversations with contemporary artists, curators, scholars and more from across the African Diaspora.

On Thursday February 27th, Shani will deliver an artist talk at Rutgers University. This event is free and open to the public, join us!

Shani’s collage work is featured in the latest issue of The Iowa Review, Winter 2019/20. The “Americana Fantastica” portfolio is devoted to contemporary expressions of the surreal and the fantastical; it takes some of its inspiration from a 1943 issue of the avant-garde magazine View.

Shani has been appointed a 2020-21 Artist Fellow in fine arts/ painting at The National Arts Club, a private club in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by author and poet Charles De Kay, the literary and art critic for The New York Times, to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. 

The NAC Artist Fellowship program continues the Club’s 121-year history of supporting the arts and artists by recognizing and supporting a select number of leading artists from a range of disciplines, with the goal of furthering their careers.

Artist to Artist, Neighbor to Neighbor. Conversations About Home, Hosted by Shani Jamila.

Introducing Lineage! This new podcast + portrait project features intimate, in-depth interviews about the idea of home with some of New York City’s most imaginative thinkers– including MacArthur geniuses, Pulitzer Prize winners and Bessie Award recipients. And now there’s an opportunity for YOU to become an inaugural supporter of this work. 

Join the Founders Circle and receive exclusive access to live events, become an associate producer of the podcast, get discounts on merchandise, or personally commission a painting! There’s a whole list of amazing rewards to thank you for support. Click here to make your contribution today.

Shani has been named a 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar! The Aspen Scholars are a group of global leaders who are selected for their work, accomplishments, and ability to transform ideas into action.

Presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic magazine, the Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation’s premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to present and discuss the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.

From Aspen Lectures to debates to one-on-one interviews and more, days are filled from early morning to late evening. Attendees have exceptional opportunities to interact with public officials, artists, scientists, authors, business executives, scholars, economists, foreign policy specialists, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all kinds — on footpaths and sidewalks, over lunch on the lawn or coffee at the espresso bar, in auditoriums and in small seminar rooms. The intimacy of Festival gatherings renders the experience unique and unforgettable.

Shani is a Spring 2019 Artist in Residence at MASS MoCA!

“Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.

Hosted by MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program, selected artists receive private studio space on MASS MoCA’s campus, newly renovated housing, free access to the museum’s galleries throughout the residency, optional financial and business coaching from Assets for Artists staff, and a daily group meal.”

shani-jamila ace-hotel solo-exhibition collage
Shani is the February Artist In Residence at the Ace Hotel! In this capacity, she has been making new work that will be featured in a solo exhibition in the hotel’s gallery.

Ace Hotel New York is proud to present a new collection of works by artist Shani Jamila. The exhibition will be on view until March 31st, with an opening reception on March 7th and an artist talk on March 29th.

Artist Shani Jamila’s collages, paintings and soundscapes explore family, lineage and identity.

The collages utilize her archive of photo essays created over the course of her travels to nearly fifty countries as source material. They interrogate how the idea of home is constructed and the surrealist nature of our political reality. As Jamila encounters people and places through her camera lens, moments of recognition or solidarity emerge which are reorganized and re-purposed through collage, simultaneously revealing and obscuring identity and familiarity.

Her paintings began as a creative mapping of her personal family records. If she wanted to delve even deeper into her family’s history, she may want to consider going throw the vast online archive of newspapers, obituaries, and genealogy records – others wanting to do the same can look at this to get a start learning about their ancestry. Jamila is in the seventh generation on both sides of her lineage. The content of the work, and its color palette, are drawn from enormous genealogical charts produced by her grandmother.

While the materials vary, there is a constant refrain in Jamila’s work of who she is, where she comes from and how she interacts with the world, whether via the camera, the photograph’s transformation to collage or the meditative repetition of pressing her fingertips to paint and canvas. With Seven, she invites us into an immersive installation to experience how the work is woven together.


Private Happening

“At Ace, we agree with Richard Avedon when he says, “Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” Sculpture, mineral, sound and thought – some people wink and call it art. Each Sunday night our Artists in Residence program invites members of the community to spend one night with us, enjoying a modest tab and access to a cart of supplies. On Monday mornings, we find out what they’ve made.

This February, artist Shani Jamila will spend her Sundays at Ace Hotel. Her travels to nearly fifty countries deeply inform her collage, photography and painting practice. She has exhibited and performed at the Manifesta European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Harvard University’s Cooper Gallery, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Smack Mellon, SCOPE Art Fair, Brooklyn Museum, Corridor Gallery, City College, New Museum and Princeton. The community conversations she’s hosted at institutions including the Aperture Foundation, Lincoln Center, Schomburg Center and New York Live Arts are known for engaging discussions about the arts and society. This was also the subject of her TED Talk, “Reimagining Resistance Through Art,” which she delivered during a residency at the organization’s headquarters. A Fulbright scholar once named “One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World” by ESSENCE Magazine, her image and quote are featured in “A Choice to Change the World,” a permanent exhibition at her alma mater Spelman College.

An artist yourself, you say? Make your marks at Ace Hotel New York using promo code ARTSCHOOL and recieve 10% off your stay.”

This Saturday (2/2, 6pm), Shani is doing a live artist talk to mark the closing of the iconic Soul of A Nation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. This is also the beginning of her newest project. Details below!

“Celebrate the launch of artist Shani Jamila’s new podcast Lineage with photographers Ming Smith and Russell Fredrick of the Kamoinge Collective, a group founded during the Black Power movement which is still active today. 330 free tickets in Auditorium line at Admissions at 5 pm.

The full schedule of activities is available on the Brooklyn Museum website. Lines often form one hour before ticket distribution at the Admissions Desk. Members can pick up tickets from Member Services while supplies last.”  Would love to see you there!

What a year it’s been!  Shani’s artwork was displayed from Italy to Harvard, she lived in Spain for a month and traveled to Africa twice, and community conversations about the work went from public stages to the pages of Aperture Magazine.  As we look back to move forward, we’re grateful for the lessons learned in 2018 and looking forward to the work we’ll collectively create in 2019.

Manifesta Biennial- Palermo, Italy

In 2018 Shani debuted eight collages and an accompanying soundscape in her first international Biennial! “Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, held in a different host city every two years. It is a major international art event, attracting visitors from all over the world. Manifesta is the go-to place for discovering emerging artists, thought provoking ideas, new artworks especially commissioned for the event, and creative experiences in dialogue with spectacular locations of each host city.”


The work, which was part of a show that rewrote the narrative of Black portraiture in European art,  was accompanied by a talk she delivered in Palermo, Italy about her artistic practice.

New Solo Exhibition

Another highlight of the year was having her photography, collage and film featured in Portals, a solo exhibition curated by Senior Curator of MoCAD and co-founder of ARTNOIR Larry Ossei-Mensah. This exhibition drew on Shani’s years of international travel to nearly 50 countries. It was accompanied by a series of public events, featuring an all star roster of guest speakers and performers including author and NYT photography critic Teju Cole, Queens Museum president Laura Raicovich, Broadway singer Alicia Hall Moran and celebrated Random House One World editor Chris Jackson.

shani jamila solo show portals

Harvard Exhibition

Six of Shani’s collages were included in Harvard’s Cooper Gallery spring exhibition, ReSignifications. The show was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.” She traveled to Cambridge for the opening.

shani jamila

Aperture Article

Aperture published an article about Shani’s art and travel with author and photographer Teju Cole, curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, and writer and art worker Laura Raicovich. As the intro states, “what follows is an edited excerpt of this conversation that addresses mobility and its implications, particularly for black bodies in our times, and the meaning of images produced by Cole and Jamila. Both, in their diaristic approach to photography, contend with how constructions of home, borders, and nationality, among other intensely felt notions, are largely figments of imagination that, while powerfully experienced, are equally slippery when parsed. Further, Jamila and Cole both confront subjective and objective visibility of themselves as photographers, seers, and artists.” Click here to read the full article. 

shani jamila teju cole aperture

Honoring Poetry & Performance
This year Shani celebrated the remarkable life of the writer Ntozake Shange by performing an excerpt of her seminal work For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. She began in poetry, so she was grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to her by revisiting her artistic foundation.

She was also so thankful for the opportunity to honor her beloved Uncle John. An award winning playwright and author, he’s devoted his entire life to using his art in support of freedom, justice and the liberation of Black people– as the co-founder of the Free Southern Theater, a field secretary for SNCC and the founder of Junebug Productions. He is currently fighting dementia.Two weeks ago, the family created an opportunity for the community to contribute to his care. It has already raised over $20,000! What a joy to be able to give him his flowers while he’s here to enjoy them. Thanks to every person who has written beautiful notes and donated during this season of giving. You have gotten us over 2/3rds of the way to our goal in just a matter of days. If you’d like to contribute, click here. 

Travel Photography

This year Shani traveled to Africa twice and visited five countries in three months: Italy, Spain, Malta, Tunisia and Morocco. She got to have wonderful adventures, including skydiving in Spain while living there for a month with Unsettled, studying Dali, and enjoying a bucket list trip to the blue town of Chefchouen. Images she made over the course of her travels are featured on her Instagram account. Follow her there for a peek into her visual diary as she moves throughout the world!

Facilitating Community Conversations

In 2018 Shani continued her work addressing inequity and catalyzing cultural change. Stand out moments were moderating a conversation of dancers, musicians and choreographers with Rashida Bumbray and Dancing While Black at the University of Virginia, & leading a conversation about art and justice at the Aperture Foundation’s Prison Nation opening. Much more to come on this front in the new year!