Kamau Amu Patton Kamau Amu Patton is a visual artist and art educator. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Sociology and Stanford University where he received his MFA. Patton has had solo exhibitions at Machine Project (LA), Queens Nails Annex (SF) and Tilton Gallery (NY). His most recent project was a performance and installation project curated by Julio Cesar Morales at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. The works exhibited in Past Forward are from Patton’s MFA thesis project at Stanford University entitled the “Throne of Third Heaven Project”. The project is an interdisciplinary work which integrates anthropology and fiction in order to explore African American spiritual practices. By slightly subverting familiar forms, visual systems, and sounds, he creates an entirely new, yet recognizable religious system. Patton states, “the religious universe I construct is intended to serve an allegory to uncover how such contemporary African Diasporic religious practices accommodate and inform communication and social change.”
Karen Seneferu A self-taught artist and English instructor at Berkeley City College, Karen Seneferu created the Take Flight Program that uses art, multimedia, computer science, and self-publishing to remove fear and anxiety from Basic Skills students. At the end of the semester students display their book art and writing in an exhibition. In February 2008, Seneferu was winner of the Art of Living Black Exhibition in Richmond, CA for her soft figurative “N’kiski” named Aray, dedicated to the late co-founder of the Art of Living Black, Ray Louise Hayward. Through her art, Seneferu seeks to give voice to aspects of her culture which have been historically left out of the mainstream narrative. Moreover, she seeks to expand the limited social space given to African American women by weaving dualistic narratives, drawing on the emotional and political power of the icons from which she draws inspiration. In late 2009, Karen Seneferu created the first of its kind Techno-kisi, combining an ancient art form originating from the Bakongo people of Central Africa with contemporary American technology. The piece debuted at the California African American Museum and the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles California.