6:00 PM18:00

Canvas Conversations: Sionne Remeah Neely & Nzilani Simu

  • Canvas House: 3108 Semmes Ave Richmond, VA 23225 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Join us for an informal conversation between Sionne Remeah Neely of Intiatives of Change USA and visiting Kenyan artist Nzilani Simu to talk about the power of art in changing narratives and society.

6:00pm: Doors open
6.30pm: Canvas conversation, followed by audience questions
8:00pm: Close

Light hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. $5 suggestion donation to Simu’s travel fund.


Sionne Rameah Neely is a womanist researcher, writer, teacher and multimedia producer who spent eight years cultivating critical movements in the artist community of Ghana before returning to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia and joining the IofC team as Director of Marketing & Communications.

In Ghana, Sionne co-created ACCRA [dot] ALT, an independent community-based organization that promotes the socially transformative work of local creatives and artists to global audiences. As part of this work, she also co-founded and helped run the flagship CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, the biggest festival of its kind in Africa. In addition to her work in the artist community, Sionne built upon her doctoral research on the rights of African women in her role leading the knowledge management division of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), the largest continental fund supporting and sustaining more than 1,300 women’s rights organizations in Africa.

Sionne received a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California in American studies and ethnicity. She completed master’s work in fine arts from Howard University, where she focused on film production and criticism, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Her multimedia research revolves around independent arts organizing, African women’s rights, African feminism, the rights of artists, the history of music production in Ghana and pan-African recollections of the transatlantic enslaved trade. When she is not at work, Sionne loves to be at the beach or out on the trails, exploring new places, interacting with folks of different cultures and checking out films and musical performances.


Nzilani Simu is an Illustrator and graphic designer from Nairobi, Kenya. She specialises in illustration, infographics, branding, hand lettering and is passionate about design for social impact, particularly when it comes to an African lens and projects focused on women's rights. She has over ten years of experience working as a freelancer and for creative agencies within Kenya and for international clients. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario, and a BA in Graphic Design from Curtin University in Malaysia. Nzilani also runs Kulula - where she sells greeting cards, journals, and other gift and stationery goods. In addition to this, Nzilani works part time as a lecturer at a creative college in Nairobi.

Nzilani is visiting Richmond to participate in the two day Something's in the Water event taking place across Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day and the National Day of Racial Healing, hosted at Studio Two Three.

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to Jan 22

Something's in the Water

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A free 2-day creative event for NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL HEALING

2019 marks the 400th year observance of Jamestown, Virginia, and specifically, the earliest record of enslaved Africans arriving in 1619 to a strange new world - the tumultuous beginnings of a nation-state called the United States of America. With increased national and global efforts to center inclusive histories, truth and reconciliation processes, and racial equity today, we ask, how far have we come in 400 years?

January’s National Day of Racial Healing is as much about grappling with ongoing structures of racism, trauma, loss and injustice as it is about journeying toward healing and reconciliation. We confront these systems of oppression and marginalization as ways toward greater hope, dignity, truth telling, accountability and freedom-making. 

What remains hidden beneath the water? What floats to the surface?

Something’s in the Water is a recognition of patterns of collective thinking and behaviors that are odd, off and in need of course correction. It is also where emergent bubbles rise to the top, resisting the waves of history to push to the shore of a new day.

Initiatives of Change USA contemplates the conditions of our making as a city, state, and country through this exciting 2-day event that kicks off on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) and continues on the National Day of Racial Healing (Jan. 22). Join us as we partner with leading artists, cultural historians, creative influencers, grassroots activists and organizations in a range of activities including conversations, installations, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, live music and performances.

National Day of Racial Healing is a nationwide event, created by the Kellogg Foundation, under the thematic approach of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation. Initiatives of Change USA is leading this process in Richmond, one of 14 cities that has received a multi-year grant to conduct this work, and will be producing activities on January 22, 2019. 

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