Disrupting Patterns of Injustice, Weaving Architectures of Change.
For nearly 100 years, Initiatives of Change has been working to uproot deep structures of inequity, injustice, exclusion and division. In an effort to create and amplify systems of thriving change, we interconnect global communities and leaders through sincere fellowship, devoted energy, focused determination, and expansive imagination. As our history demonstrates, IofC has developed strong global communities particularly through the purchasing and sharing of books, music, films, magazines, newspapers, and other artistic productions.
A Practice of Creative Equity.
In 2019, we build on our organizational history by launching a new concept shop that integrates our commitment to creative arts as a tangible strategy of facilitation, dialogue and peacebuilding across social divides. By implementing a “creative equity practice”, we are supporting and including the work of artists as a fundamental approach to individual and social change. Our creative equity practice means IofC USA pays artists for their design work and proceeds from merchandise featuring their artworks goes directly to the artist. We begin with the work of two artists - NZILANI SIMU and AMANDA BARNES - with the plan to bring other artists across the world into this fold. Learn more about our featured artists below.
Visual Artist | Graphic Designer | Photographer | IofC Communications Resident
At 23, Amanda Barnes, is in a good flow, crafting her multimedia capacities into a comprehensive portfolio. The Washington, D.C. native is also a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelors degree in Painting and Print Making. She is a visual artist, graphic designer and photographer who creates original artwork as compelling forms of communication that audiences can experience. Amanda also serves as the Communications Resident with Initiatives of Change USA where she is committed to engaging audiences in innovative ways in order to reflect their own activation for change.
In her position with IofC USA, Amanda designs work to communicate organizational programs and events. She also generated the visual posters for IofC’s National Day of Racial Healing event (January 21-22, 2019) entitled, “Something’s in the Water”. Through art installations, workshops, live music and performances, and conversations, “Something’s in the Water” explored the significance of 2019, the 400th year observance of Jamestown, Virginia, and specifically, the earliest record of enslaved Africans arriving in 1619 to the United States. With the question of “how far have we come in 400 years?” in mind, Amanda’s work points to the complex layers that are embedded below and underneath water and the heavy and light aspects of healing work.
A digital artist born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Nzilani Simu prefers to speak with her hands. Her portfolio pages abound with colorful designs and bright patterns of work completed for community-based organizations, NGOs, and businesses along with brief proclamations of loving “tea, cats, and drawing”. Nzilani is the only university lecturer in Kenya to develop a course on the history of graphic design from an African perspective. She is a self-made creator with a passion for illustrating social justice movements - particularly feminist and pan-African - as a way of unearthing the complexity of these experiences.
Nzilani developed the illustrations for IofC USA’s inaugural program, the Narrative Change Collaborative, including individual illustrations of the Architects (3 faculty advisors) and Weavers (6 program residents). She also took part in our 2-day event for National Day of Racial Healing, providing two free seminar workshops in East African pattern making and graphic fonts.