Artist Ajuan Mans shows the beauty and complexity of “living black”.

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In 2018, a white woman called the police over an eight-year-old black girl for selling bottled water in San Francisco. That same year, a similar situation occurred with blacks having a barbecue at Lake Merritt in Oakland. There are many stories in American history of blacks who were racially abused for doing daily chores.

We need more of us when we write “Blackness” or draw “Blackness” as we see it. Each of us sees and experiences this in a slightly different way, but almost all of us see it with love and appreciation.

Ajuan Mance

In Ajuan Mance’s painting Living Black, the Auckland-based artist creates humanizing portraits that celebrate black people and also shows a timeline showing when black people were arrested, attacked or killed while doing their daily, ordinary business. Ajuan Mance is Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at Mills College and Lecturer in Illustration and Comics at the California College of the Arts.

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