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Sights and Sounds: Ajuan Mance

Artist Ajuan Mance
Photo Provided by Ajuan Mance
Artist Ajuan Mance

“Sights and Sounds” is our weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. On this episode, host Jenee Darden speaks with artist Ajuan Mance. She’s the author of the book Living While Black. It celebrates small acts of resistance of everyday Black folks.

“Lhola Amira: Facing the Future”
deYoung Museum
Currently running until December 3rd
Lhola is a South African artist who uses African art to heal by looking at historical traumas. It’s a part of the newly launched Contemporary African Art Program. One of Lhola’s projects is a film THEY shot in Brazil. It follows THEIR journey in the city of Bahia and response to how water and land affected enslaved Africans. The exhibit is meant to remind us of our connection to the Earth and each other.

“Twenty Something”
This 2D animation is about a young Black woman named Gia turning 21. Her sister takes her out clubbing for her birthday, but Gia has insecurities about adulting. She’s wrestling with self-doubt and navigating life. Her emotions are personified in the form of three children that hide under her trench coat. The film is created by storyboard artist Aphton Corbin. Her inspiration came from her own experiences when she started working with Pixar.

Analog Poet Blues
Yeva Johnson
This poetry collection is about the writer’s search for love and justice in an ever-changing digital era. The book looks at intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and religion. According to Yeva, social media and Zoom were digital tools she learned to navigate in order to keep up with today’s literary landscape.

Ajuan’s book Living While Black is available now.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.
Porfirio Rangel is a Producer for Sights & Sounds