BioShani Jamila is an artist and cultural worker whose travels to more than forty countries deeply inform her collage, text and documentary photography practice. Her work, which addresses themes of identity, political imagination and witness, has been exhibited at institutions including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Smack Mellon Gallery, SCOPE Art Fair, Corridor Gallery, the City College of New York and Princeton University. She has performed and hosted community conversations at the Brooklyn Museum, Lincoln Center, Pacifica Radio, the National Portrait Gallery, the Phillips Collection and the United Nations. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture filmed an interview about her life and work for their inaugural exhibit “A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond.”
A Fulbright scholar with over a decade of leadership in designing and executing programs that use the arts to catalyze social change, Jamila currently serves as a managing director of the Urban Justice Center in New York City. Previously, she directed a culturally grounded mentorship initiative to support the empowerment of incarcerated teens; interviewed artists, writers and change makers as the host and producer of a weekly talk radio show; led an international book drive to co-found a school library; and produced the Art of Activism seminar series at Howard University.
Shani is a skilled public speaker who has lectured about her work from Turkey, Switzerland and Italy to Jamaica, Gabon and Brazil. Her expertise at the intersection of human rights and the arts has been recognized by the broad range of organizations she’s advised, including the National Cares Mentoring Movement, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities,New School Humanities Action Lab, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, African Diaspora Heritage Trail, US Human Rights Network and the Academy for Educational Development. Jamila’s career has been featured in a mural at her alma mater Spelman College, as well as in publications like the New York Times, Trinidad Guardian, the London based literary magazine Sable and the 35th anniversary issue of ESSENCE—as “One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World.”