Friday, July 8, 2011

Black Diamonds Shining Collective Spreads Love at Oakland's Rock Paper Scissors Gallery

    When I walked into the Rock Paper Scissors Collective gallery in Oakland last Friday, the word that kept running through my mind was affirmation. It was what I felt when I looked at the intricate murals and installations that covered the walls from top to bottom. It was the work of Black Diamonds Shining, an "Oakland based afro galactic black arts collective" comprised of artists Ras Terms, Safety First, Deadeyes, Antjuan Jones, Brooks Golden (Be Golden), and Larry Dobie.

    The best thing about gazing upon the work of these artists is that it serves as a reminder of our humanity and our beauty as people. I can't tell you how many times I stumbled across their work and it caused me to hold my head a little bit higher, or put a smile on my face and remember where I came from. The message they deliver is a powerfully positive one.

     The way that BDS transformed this space truly has to be seen to be believed. There are messages and images in every corner, and they all come together to form a beautiful narrative.
    Another wonderful thing about this collaborative work is how seamlessly it is woven together in this space. It's hard to tell where on artist's contribution begins and another ends.

 Iconography of the African Diaspora and the message of ancestral reverence is strong throughout the mural, as evidenced by an area dedicated to elder and ancestor movers and shakers  like Octavia E. Butler, George Clinton, and Malcolm X.

The Bay is home to some amazing graffiti and street artists, and they definitely have a unique aesthetic that celebrates the diverse cultures and natural beauty of the Bay Area. There are giant wheat pasted drawings of owls and foxes done with intricate detail, stencil pieces of cowrie shells and legendary afro beat musician Fela Kuti (shout out to ESU), and writing urging people to rise up and take a stand.    

You can keep up with the work of Black Diamonds Shining Collective on their Tumblr page

You can view more graffiti and murals by Bay Area artists on Endless Canvas . And if you're in the Bay, don't miss the show at Rock Paper Scissors, 2278 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. They're open Weds. through Sunday, 12-7pm 

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