Laney College

Empowerment & Change

A Satellite Show of Art of the African Diaspora

In the Virtual Gallery – Empowerment & Change

Empowerment & Social Change

This Satellite on-line exhibit of the 2021 Art of the African Diaspora, is in collaboration with the June Steingart Gallery at Laney College.

The visual art presentation of diverse genre, exhibit multiple identities which extends an inclusive culture beyond Black History Month or Women’s History Month.

These artists represent an indispensable criterion for exploring, interpreting, discovering new and old visions; and by extension, the ongoing mission of documenting histories. Women of the African Diaspora face challenges, yet reimagine the scope and power of creativity and representation in art as in politics and life…

“Art is not a luxury as many people think – it is a necessity.  It documents history – it helps educate people and stores knowledge for generations to come.”

– Dr. Samella Lewis

Participating Artists: Ashlei Reign, Carla Golder, Donna Meke’da Bradley, Kim Champion, Michelle Tompkins, TaSin Sabir,  and Valerie Brown-Troutt.

Michelle Tompkins

“I go into a trance and create something beautiful”

“I believe I was born to create, and for the past 15 years painting has been my passion.

Acrylic abstracts on canvas is my preference. I find my inspiration in nature, architecture, everyday objects and life itself. Sometimes there’s a specific image I want to create, other times I let the feeling take me wherever it wants to go. I love using bright colors, but also allow the piece itself to decide. Each piece has its own personality and energy.

I am honored to collaborate with some of the most talented artists in the Bay Area as part of the Art of the African Diaspora 2021.” – Michelle Tompkins


Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a native Californian, born in the Bay Area. She is a graduate of Cal State East Bay University with Bachelor of Arts in Traditional Studio Art.

Artist Statement
I’m inspired by sources such as, nature, rural settings, and modern painters from Georgia O’keefe to Norman Lewis. I use color, shapes, shading and my imagination to visualize a story of how to bring these organic elements together. My method can be impulsive and tedious, but the quote by artist Jasper Johns sums up my feelings and informs my process. 

“Sometimes I see it and then paint it.  Other times I paint it then I see it’  – Jasper Johns

Valerie Brown-Troutt

Valerie Brown-Troutt, a self taught artist and Oakland native  art begins with reused and recycled materials.  

Art and creativity are her sacred platforms empowering her to make meaning through scrap paper images, mixing colors, adding textual words or verse  to recreate and celebrate memories.

Valerie’s collages and paintings whimsically honor and celebrate  love and discord

lived, remembered or practiced- arguably an indication of her broad spectrum-life as an artist, mother, retired educator and pastor.

Carla Golder

“As a Black woman artist living in Oakland, I am dedicated to creating art examining the impact of the African diaspora on our identity and sense of belonging.

The African word Sankofa best expresses the guiding force behind my work- to retrieve wisdom from the past that has been lost and taken away in order to reclaim, revive, and reshape it as we move forward to achieve our full potential.

I am combining elements from past drawings and prints in order to tell the African-American story of being uprooted from our homeland, re-rooted in a new and hostile environment. We have spilled out life’s blood into the earth through captivity and have labored to rise up from oppression, conflict, and turmoil.” – Carla Golder


Ashlei Reign

Ashlei Reign is a proud Oakland native and well traveled artist. With nineteen countries and counting and a former job as an Oakland police officer, Ashlei has seen a wide range of cultures and communities. Her highly saturated images have the ability to draw your attention and her level of detail in the eyes of her portraits teach you to look beyond differences and simply connect. Ashlei has had no formal art training but she continues to surround herself with other artists and mentors that contribute to her artistic journey.

TaSin Sabir


Dear Mama, 

Our isolation strings us together like ropes that anchor ships to the shore.

Holding tightly, but barely holding on as we slip in and out of fear and into hope for yesterday times.

We move forward blindly, arms outstretched, 

Warning! Measuring! But yearning for closeness.

The memory fading. 

Stories we will tell our young if we could only remember. 

This masquerade is now the only show and we are lost. 

There is no map through these vacant streets, abandoned buildings, and empty parks,

Yet, we will bear down and push. 

The way we did before. 

Push through the pain and weeds surrounding our core and we will feel at peace. 


TaSin Sabir uses her love of art to express topics that are important to her. TaSin graduated from California College of the Arts with a BFA in Photography. An Oakland native, TaSin’s artwork has been exhibited all around the Bay Area and Nation. TaSin has published two photography books: Madagascar Made and 100 Families Oakland. Currently TaSin runs a Photography and Graphic Design business. 

Donna Meke’da Bradley

Donna Meke’da Bradley, is a  multi-mixed media artist from southern California, whom relocated to they bay area two 1/2  years ago.   

The monotype series has been a way for her to practice and experiment with the process.  The series has now gone beyond the 100 monotype challenge  she committed herself to create when she was not able to retrieve artwork left in Los Angeles. 

“I enjoy working in layers mostly, and the various viewpoints that are possible in the interpretation of the work, is always openly welcomed and intriguing to me.”  This triptych type  work entitled: Getting Caught Up, is a message within to see hope and change which she believes starts with seeing what is hidden, yet expressed in a language that is often seen as conspiracy or new dialect of discussion of what the world faces today. She believes that when art is defined for a purpose to inspire, question, or examine as thought, it is a message sometimes given to each personally, yet it can also be the beginning of enrolling many in a belief that drives a call for action the will .