As we embarked on this project in the Fall of 2018, we were motivated to forge relationships with artists and cultural workers already engaged with natural dye work in the Baltimore community. The following individuals are our artists and researchers in residence for the duration of the project, developing and deepening relationships with other members of our community around the histories, cultivation and contemporary uses of natural dye.
Community Researcher-in-Residence, MICA (she/her)
The Baltimore arts community was the platform that nurtured Kibibi Ajanku's passion for the arts, beginning an artistic journey that led to the exploration, execution, and deep passion for ethnically charged art forms. Ajanku believes that when presented properly, art is the perfect vehicle for increased intercultural understanding. To that end, Ajanku is a senior staff member of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance where her primary responsibility is the forwarding of equity and inclusion through the management of the Urban Arts Ledership, as well as other initiatives. Ajanku is a faculty member at Coppin State University. She attended Morgan State University and received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from Maryland Institute College of Art.
Artist-in-Residence, MICA; Dye Farm Supervisor at Parks and People Foundation and Gardener at Hidden Harvest (she/her)
Rosa Chang is a Korean-born visual artist and is a senior advisor for the Natural Dye Initiative at the Maryland State Arts Council. Rosa works as a liaison between project partners including Maryland state agencies and the Natural Dye Cultural Center in Naju, South Korea. Rosa has worked as an apprentice dyer at Buaisou Brooklyn, a Japanese traditional indigo dye artisanal studio with a main studio and farm located in Tokushima, Japan, and has experience in growing Japanese indigo plants. This work led her to submit a proposal for "Urban farming Japanese indigo plants on abandoned lots in Baltimore City for the Community Development and Revitalization," which was nominated as a semi-finalist for the Fullbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship in 2017. Rosa's relationship with the Natural Dye Cultural Center in Naju, South Korea, her previous experiences and studies as a natural dyer/grower motivated her work on this project to establish a natural dye garden in Baltimore. Rosa is hoping to see the natural dye garden become a healing, joyful, and inspirational place for people in the Baltimore City community. Rosa is a graduate of MICA (Illustration '11) and received her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY.
Artist-in-Residence, MICA; Farmer at Parks and People Foundation and Gardener at Hidden Harvest (she/her)
Kenya Miles is a native to the DMV. She is the artist & alchemist behind Traveling Miles Studio, a one-woman textile and fine art studio utilizing sustainable materials from earth pigments to natural dyes. Kenya's work honors ancient practices while harmoniously drawing on a distinctive contemporary voice. Kenya's artistic process is a ledger of years wandering and apprenticing around the globe, from the valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico to the red clay roads of Ntonso, Ghana. Kenya has facilitated workshops at the Berkeley Art Museum, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. She was a guest artist at Berkeley Museum of Art's "The Possible" and recently had a solo exhibition "The Central Sun" in San Francisco. Kenya is an avid traveler, gardener, lover of home decor and above all else a mother to Indigo, her son.
Growing up in New York, Rhonda Dallas learned early on the transforming power of the arts. Her mission is clear; removing barriers for emerging artists and bringing to the forefront inclusionary and socially impactful creative and cultural practices that instigate sustainable infrastructure, global connectivity and policy driven advocacy. Rhonda is a visionary curator, arts administrator and creative entrepreneur. She serves as the Executive Director and Chief Curator for the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. She is also CEO/Founder of LeDae Contemporary, a public art and biophilic design practice. Rhonda attended Howard University School of Business and received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She is a certified LEED Green Associate and member of the Fine Arts Advisory Panel, Maryland State Department of Education.
Farmer, Parks and People Foundation (they/them)
Sun (Bobby) English Jr. is a QTPOC herbalist, farmer, and ritual performance artist from Baltimore. They spend their days creating with Earth, Wood, and Metal; whether that be in the garden, wood shop, metal shop, or the apothecary. Sun comes from a rich lineage of farmers, resistance fighters, and community gatherers. They are working towards a vision for the future that exist beyond the systems of oppression via many different land based projects. Sun believes that the practice of planting is synonymous with practicing freedom, and they are feeling wonderful to be part of this historical project. Learn more by visiting https://www.melanatedmedicinals.com/