?UESTIONS: Karen Seneferu

Karen Seneferu visual artist and curator. Self taught and thought provoking, Karen's aesthetic celebrates history and a cosmic narrative. Her afrifuturistic approach provides a curative meeting between technological and the spiritual. Karen curates the recurring 'The Black Woman is God' (TBWIG) exhibition at the San Francisco art space SOMArts.

"The Black Woman is God will assert that celebrating Black women are essential to building a more just society and a sustainable future. The project will explore the intersectionality of race, age, and gender and will dismantle stereotypes of Black women." Karen Seneferu

© Nicole Dixon - “Symbols of God” presents a rejuvenating feeling, using the body as empowered symbols that highlight the inner strength and gilded spirit of the Black women.

You curated ‘The Black Woman Is God’, can you share what the exhibition is about?   Our mission is to foster the development and to heighten the visibility of Black Women artists. Over the past 6 years, the project has built solidarity among Northern and Southern California Black women artists by promoting social interactions across generations, walks of life, citizenship status, socio-economic circumstances and places of residence.  

The Black Woman Is God (BWIG) project also challenges mainstream constructions of Black femininity and the Eurocentric cultural narrative of divinity as exclusively white and male. We present original works by Black women artists addressing the cutting-edge social justice issues of our time.

The Black Woman is God’s 2020 event will comprise a series of spoken word, music and dance performances. A multi-media visual arts exhibition of 40 new works, several film screenings and panel discussions exploring Black women's valuable contributions to American society both as artists and as social change-makers. This exhibit will partner with African American Art and Cultural Complex, Mills College, and SOMArts.

© Shana Strauss - “Memory Keeper” is dedicated to Strauss’ grandmother Bibi who tells the story of Leti.

Growing up you attended the Free Breakfast for Children Program run by the Black Panther Party, do you have any fond memories that you can tell us about?   I remember how beautiful the young men and women were that fed me along with 15 or 20 Black children in a Catholic school auditorium across the street from the public school I attended. I didn't have to be fed by them. My Mom made breakfast for my siblings and me, but I would leave home 15 minutes early, so I could be fed by these youth. The oatmeal and toast were warm, and I just remember saying, I had never seen such beautiful people before, so I went there to eat and look at them. That is when I wanted to have my hair in an Afro and ran home after school to ask my Mom and Dad could I have one instead of a press an curl. That was the moment of claiming my body as a 10 year old as something beautiful, which is so necessary for black girls, black women. These young black people were inviting, loving and beautiful. That has stayed with me.

© Kytana Winn - “I Found Myself in Space” Through her investigation, Kytana questions what would a divine feminine in space look like?

What is your philosophy about the spiritual and cultural significance of the black woman within the universe? Black women, biologically, spiritually, and historically, have been the center value. Our DNA holds the mitochondria of the human race, illustrated in the documentary  The Real Eve that focuses on this idea. Our strength to endure the horrors of white supremacy, patriarchy against our children, community, and ourselves and still be able to love, reveals the deep humanity we maintain despite this systemic intention- otherwise.