Archive: Manifest Justice

Hello again readers!

Welcome back to the FabArt takeover, I’m your pilot, Akiko Surai and I’ll be steering this craft for the next two weeks. If you’re all caught up with our BONUS POST from Sunday morning you already know that I was in L.A. this weekend for a big opening. Our very own co-founder/ developmental editor Keena Tarrant was selected to show at a ten day pop up (May 1-10) titled Manifest Justice. I was beyond proud to be there representing Keena’s work and checking out the whole event and I’m so excited to share it with you.

Manifest Justice is a ten day event covering visual and performing arts, seminars, and art activism. All of the artists and individuals or organizations involved are concerned with social justice, human rights and reaching an audience in a creative way. This year’s show is actually the annual iteration of a show that has been previously called “Manifest Equality” that has featured work both politically and socially motivated. Fortunately/unfortunately this years event comes at a time when people, especially black people and other people of color, all over the country are crying out for their human rights to be respected. The issues that we are seeing addressed in nationwide protests were largely present in the work on display. I personally tend to be a bit wary of “art for a cause” things when they get political because it can attract people who want to capitalize on trending issues who may not be affected by them, which easily becomes problematic. However, the Manifest show was a breath of fresh air and a moment for solidarity where artists and guest could come together and feel validated, even inspired by their circumstances.

Manifest Justice’s art gallery has been installed in a decommissioned theater in Baldwin Hills, a historically black neighborhood in Los Angeles county. The show opens with a section of photographs and posters showing the interaction of art and political/social movements in american history, a perfect primer to the work on display.

Although Manifest does feature artists from all over the country, a large percentage of artists and sponsors were from southern California. So, naturally, a lot of california issues were at the forefront as well like racial profiling (over 70% of californian’s under 25 are POC), water access (CA’s crippling drought has left many people without clean drinking water) and education funding . One of the most impactful pieces for me was this installation comparing the building of prisons to the building of schools. The figure seems impossible but it’s true, only one California State University has been built since 1980.

Because of the nature of human rights the show had an incredibly broad scope but one of the biggest themes is race and racially motivated violence, especially by police. For the last nine months we’ve seen protests sweeping across the U.S. with black men, women, and even children being murdered for what certainly looks like no good reason and/or blatant racism. I could add names and dates here but unfortunately at the rate that these incidents are being reported they will have likely been replaced by the time you read this. Black Lives Matter has been at the forefront of this movement, which is now being called “Black Spring”, since it’s inception with the killing of unarmed Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO last year. BLM had it’s own room with work by black photographers and a sound piece were individuals imagined themselves in a world where black lives matter. Something to note, even with a specifically dedicated space this was not a marketing of blackness to make black people ‘seem’ valuable or to exclude non-black people. People of all backgrounds came in and out expressing their support and solidarity.

Since the opening other events in conjunction with the art show have gone on every night and they will continue for the next five days.

I strongly encourage anybody in and around the Los Angeles area to attend; not just for the work but to meet other people interested in social justice. This could be a fantastic opportunity to network and connect with activist groups in the area. My admittedly outlandish dream for this event is that it will travel to other cities or at least inspire other artists and activists to work together and bring attention issues we are facing as a community, a country and a  people. For more pictures and information, view the slideshow and links below.


Originally published by

Further Reading:

Manifest Justice Website

Press for Manifest Justice: LA Times, Juxtapoz,

follow #manifestjustice on instagram

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