The Black Woman is God, July 7–August 17, 2016

The Black Woman is God social media graphic

Curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green, The Black Woman is God: Reprogramming That God Code celebrates the Black female presence as the highest spiritual form and challenges viewers to do the same. More than 60 intergenerational artists working in sculpture, painting, and new media hone in on the vital contributions of Black women as artists and social change-makers, ensuring that the Black woman’s contribution to society is seen and valued.

Co-curators Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green envision The Black Woman is God not only as an exhibition, but as a movement-building platform that explores the intersections of race and gender, dismantles racist and patriarchal notions that devalue Black women’s contributions to society, and poses the question, “When Black women create, are they God?”

“Through an examination of cosmology, womanhood, feminism, politics and psychology, The Black Woman is God challenges gaps and fragments in art history that position Black art as only ancient or contemporary, failing to honor the space in between,” explains Seneferu.

Activated by live performances and a community cyper, The Black Woman is God asserts that celebrating Black women is essential to building a more just and sustainable future. All are welcome to reconsider mainstream constructions of Black femininity.

Opening with a public reception on Thursday, July 7, 6pm to 10pm, The Black Woman is God presents a procession of women Djemba drummers and participatory dance performance led by Sister Nau-T Agu.

The Black Woman is God returns to SOMArts in 2017. Click here for information on The Black Woman is God 2017!

Joan Tarika Lewis

Exhibiting visual artist Joan Tarika Lewis delves deeply into personal and collective histories of California in her painting, “The New Seal of California.” A descendant of explorer Sir Francis Drake, Lewis reimagines the seal of California to be inclusive of her Black identity.

Nicole Dixon Transmission

Nicole Dixon’s “Transmission” addresses the critical need to pass down ancient knowledge from the powerful archetype of the Black woman to the next generation. The mixed-media act of layering drawing, painting, fabric, paper, and natural objects reflects the complex interplay of identities that drive Dixon’s work.

Sage Stargate

Born and raised in San Francisco, Sage Stargate brings her intricate graphite drawings to The Black Woman is God in order to illuminate lost and stolen myths of the ancients and futurists and shine a light of the African diaspora into the information age.

Hotcomb The Masquerade

Curator Karen Seneferu presents her film “Hotcomb the Masquerade,” that premiered at the Open Engagement conference held in May at the Oakland Museum of California. Filmed by Idris Hassan and featuring dancers and performers from across the Bay Area, “Hotcomb the Masquerade,” invites intergenerational dialogue through art-making for transformation and healing.

More information on the exhibition, including artist statements and bios, are available here.


Bushmama Africa
Marissa Arterberry
Latisha Baker
JaeMe Bereal
Lorraine Bonner
Edythe Boone
Cynthia Brannvall
Camille Brown
Tracy Brown
April Martin Chartrand
Toshia Christal
Queens D. Light
Cheryl Patrice Derricotte
Nicole Dixon
Erika Dukes
Alise Eastgate
Anna W. Edwards
Dania W. Frink
Bre Gipson
Renata Gray
Shylah Pacheco Hamilton
Ewunike Ayobami Hanson
Nannette Y. Harris-Jones
Idris Hassan
Jasmine Haynes
Shah Hussein
Ayana Ivery
Amana Brembry Johnson
Virginia “Nia” Jourdan
Val Kai
Iyabo Kwayana
Joan Tarika Lewis
Samella Lewis
Sita Kali Ma
Ajuan Mance
Kanika Marshall
Shona McDaniels
Kathleen McDonald
Francis Mead
Selamawit Mekonen
Bre’yanna Mitchell
Fatima Nasiyr
Aambr Newsome
Yetunde Olagbaju
Lala Openi
Rosalyn Parhams
Lakiba Pittman
TaSin Sabir
Yasmin Sayyed
Karen Seneferu
Britt Sense
Marnika Shelton
Sage Stargate
Taiwo & Kehinde
The House of Malico
Nye’ Lyn Tho
Karin Turner
Blue Wade
Fan Lee Warren

Sister Nau-T Agu
Ryan Austin
Bri Blue
Colette Eloi and dancers
Zakiya Harris ft. Elephantine
Charlene Gumbs
Monica Hastings-Smith
Kimiko Joy
Phavia Kujichagulia
Queens D. Light
Shawn Nealy-Oparah
Osunfemi Wanbi Njeri
Coco Pele
Frida Precariat
Amara Tabor Smith and House/Full
Lalin St. Juste
Mar Stevens

Cynthia Brannvall
Adeeba Deterville
Erika Dukes
Ajuan Mance
Amber McNeal


July 7–August 17, 2016
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm

The Black Woman is God Film Screening & Panel at Impact HUB Oakland
Friday, July 1, 8:00—9:30pm
The Black Woman is God exhibition will pre-screen two films and host a scholarly presentation on the importance of the exhibition. Scholars will champion the importance of creating an exhibition that acknowledges the historical, cultural, psychological, political, and spiritual importance of Black women’s art in the Diaspora. Register to attend this off-site event here.

Opening Reception
Thursday, July 7, 6–10pm
The opening night celebration kicks off with a processional led by women Djembe drummers and participatory dance celebration in the Gallery. To learn more, visit

Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party
Saturday, July 23, 8:30–midnight
Luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance online or $15 at the door.

The Black Woman is God Genealogy Workshop at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, Oakland
The Black Woman is God exhibiting artist Joan Tarika Lewis’ incredible living discoveries were featured on the February 16, 2016 episode of the Finding Your Roots on PBS with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. This ancestor discovery workshop is open to anyone interested in documenting and finding family. Lewis will share her experiences to help build your own family tree.
More information on this off-site event available here:

Image credits: Karen Seneferu, Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party, 2015. Photo by J. Astra Brinkmann; Joan Tarika Lewis “The New Seal of California” image courtesy of the artist; Nicole Dixon “Transmission” image courtesy of the artist; Sage Stargate “The Creators” image courtesy of the artist; Karen Seneferu “Hotcomb: The Masquerade” (video still) image courtesy of the artist.