We asked Toronto-based artist Oluseye to create a one-of-a-kind mural for the Dr. Martens Pink Stage at Afropunk in Brooklyn. Oulseye is known for creating work that provokes conversation around race and identity. We were especially drawn to the interactive and communal elements of his work. “The artwork will feature individuals from the AFROPUNK community and span the gamut of racial, gender, sexual, body and age diversity. These are people who are involved in their communities or using their talents to impact the world.”, said Oluseye. To extending the theme of community contributions, those attending Afropunk, Brooklyn will get a chance to add to the mural. Stop by the Pink stage to see how. We caught up with Oluseye during a photoshoot to meet some of the community members he chose to incorporate into his piece…
I’m Mouna Traore, an actor, writer and filmmaker. I started my company The Mini Films, a platform that encourages women and minorities to create content and roles that challenge the typical ways in which these groups are represented in the media.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a TV series and a feature film that each highlight people of color and offer them the opportunity to take control of their image. Diversity on screen and behind the scenes is of the utmost importance to our work. Creating stories that explore a wide variety of experiences is our mission.
My name is James Bailey. I am a queer/black/Caribbean, singer/songwriter living in Toronto.
How are you helping your community?
Along with creating my own music, I work with Sunset Service Toronto – an inter-spiritual organisation that creates safe space for people of colour to come together and explore spirituality through the arts. Through prayer, art, poetry, meditation and music, we celebrate the spiritual expression of people of colour, sexual minorities and other marginalised people.
I am Aidan Jeffers aka Lord Akuna, leader of the esoteric clan known as BanDzz. My work ranges from visual art to spoken word, but my one true love is hip-hop in her many forms. It’s how I connect with the world in a way that is neither transphobic nor homophobic.
Outside your music, what else are you doing for your community?
I’ve put on events like ‘Will Rap 4 Food’ and ‘Help A Mon’ to provide resources for programs that work directly with at-risk-youth. These programs provide kids with a platform to perform and work.
Oluseye is calling the mural WE THE PEOPLE.
“It celebrates everyday people taking risks to make change in the world and show power in numbers.”