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In The Omi Collective’s online store, right before the candles and tote bags they have for sale, is a category of art called “artivism.” The posters for sale in that section feature colorful renditions of a James Baldwin quote and declarations that black lives, and black futures, matter.
“The artist’s job is vital in the collective’s acknowledgement of human pain and suffering,” says Sanam Emami, creative director of The Omi Collective. “It is a necessary tool used to expand the collective’s moral imagination and transform this trauma into meaning.”
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The Omi Collective is a group of non-binary and womxn artists based in the District. For the past three years, the group has been working with Black Lives Matter D.C. to make art that communicates the organization’s goals, Emami says. Last week, the collective put out a call for art related to the movement, and they received a number of designs from local artists. Omi has another call for art ahead of this Saturday as well as an event on Saturday to facilitate testimonies about defunding the Metropolitan Police Department. The art Omi collects will be used by Black Lives Matter D.C.
“Our intention is to elevate their voices through the use of colorful visuals that will inspire hearts and minds to reflect and act,” Emami says. “Through art, we hope to inspire others to build and practice accountability as a reflection of our undeniable and tender humanity.”