Look and Listen #6: Mixed Media Artist Jamilla Okubo

Jamilla Okubo talks about using art to tell her story and the story of her culture, from growing up in D.C. to reconnecting with her father’s side of the family in Kenya. This is a very exciting young mixed media artist with a clear and joyful vision.

“Raised in Washington DC, Jamilla Okubo uses her art to give a positive visual representation of Black women. Okubo is vocal about empowering women because of her upbringing. She grew up with her mother and grandmother after her parents divorced and her father moved back to Kenya. Okubo’s father came to visit when she was thirteen, and that’s when she became curious to learn more about his side of the family and their culture.

It’s not until she transferred to an arts school in DC that she was first introduced to Black contemporary artists and Black contemporary art. It was then that she realized she could make art about herself and her culture. She started asking her father and her uncle questions so she could learn more about Kenya and incorporate that knowledge into her art.

Okubo was chosen to lead an Art Lab at Apple’s StoryMakers Festival 2019, where she was able to represent Black artists and Black Art. She’s been focusing on African American art, African American art history, and folk tales as inspiration.

Through her work, Okubo is illustrating the power of Black women, while inspiring other African American artists.

“With art specifically… no matter what kind of day you’re having, whether it’s bad or good keep making work,” she says.”

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