Join us for a discussion with Betti Ono’s artists-in-residence, Zakiya Harris & Damon Davis, about how art documents and inspires movement, law and global culture.
Betti Ono’s Tayleur Crenshaw sat down with both our artists-in-residence to uncover what cultural/societal/art movements have had the biggest impact on each of them, the historic art created in response to a movement that has impacted them growing up, what the role of a Black artist culturally and in society means to them and more!
Zakiya Harris affectionately known as Sh8peshifter, is a woman who has truly charted her own path in life. A Cultural Architect, she has over 2 decades of experience working at the intersections of Art, Activism and Spiritual Entrepreneurship. Zakiya is the co-founder of nationally recognized projects Impact Hub Oakland, Grind for the Green and a past Fellow of Green For All and Bold Food. Currently she serves as the Co-Founder + Senior Advisor at Hack the Hood, an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. Zakiya is the published author of Sh8peshift Your Life: The Creative Entrepreneurs Guide to Self Love, Self Mastery and Fearless Self Expression. In addition, she is retained as a consultant by a diverse set of leaders as a coach, trainer and strategist where culturally relevant education and cross sector collaboration are seen as assets. Zakiya’s experience in arts and equal access movements includes a combination of management, education and public speaking . As a successful performance artist she has released two EP’s under the name of Sh8peshifter and has toured extensively throughout the country. She is also the company member of Ase Dance Theater Collective and House Full of Black Women. Awards and recognitions include the Ella Baker Center Future Leaders Award, Tutorpedia Foundation Award for Personalizing Education and Nationswell Allstars Finalist. Zakiya holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University, and attended New College of Law before leaving to pursue her lifelong passion of serving community. In 2019, she traveled to Osogbo, Nigeria were she became initiated as a priest of Oya in the West African Spiritual tradition of Isese. In her spare time, you can find her near a body of water, reading Octavia Butler, cooking with her 14 year old daughter.
Damon Davis is an award-winning, post-disciplinary artist who works and resides in St. Louis, Missouri. In a practice that is part therapy, part social commentary, his work spans across a spectrum of creative mediums to tell stories exploring how identity is informed by power and mythology. Davis seeks to empower and give voice to the powerless and combat systems of oppression, focusing not only on pain but also on the joy of the Black experience. Filmmaker Magazine selected him and Sabaah Folayan as part of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016” for their work co-directing the critically acclaimed documentary Whose Streets? chronicling the Ferguson uprising of 2014. In 2020, critic Ben Davis sited Davis’ project All Hands on Deck, which captured the hands of people who shaped and upheld the Ferguson movement, as one of the “100 Works of Art That Defined the Decade.” Davis’ work has been nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award, Gotham Award, and NAACP Image Award. He is the founder and creative director of St. Louis-based music label/ artist collective FarFetched. Davis is a 2015 Firelight Media Fellow, 2016 Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab Fellow, 2017 TED Fellow, 2017 Root100 Honoree, 2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, and 2020 Monument Lab Transnational Fellow. To learn more about Damon Davis’s mythology series, visit darkergods.com