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The city as muse: An artist focuses on the shifting urban landscape of Oakland

Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh
Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh


Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh is an artist and illustrator. Her work ranges from photography to printmaking to pen-and-ink drawings she does while riding BART. 

She grew up in a small town on the East Coast but her artwork explores the excitement and challenge of urban life. These days she’s drawing inspiration from the city of Oakland, where she’s based. She sat down with KALW’s Jen Chien to talk about making art in an environment in flux.

"When you think of all the things that came out of strife, there's a balance between being too comfortable and fearing that you're not gonna have a place to live."

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.

Oni-Eseleh's work is on display right now at Art Attack SF in San Francisco through June 19th and at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland through June 27th.

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.