Aaminah Shakur is an artist and poet whose work is most informed by their First Nations/Indigenous culture and spiritualities. They are queer, crip/disabled, have no formal academic background, and are a self-taught artist. They are also a mother, a healer, and a doula/birth justice worker. Shakur’s work is primarily mixed-media arts combining text/poetry, collage or transferred images, paint, fiber arts, and beadwork, with a use of found and repurposed items. The work explores themes of love, gender, motherhood, spirituality, sexuality, disability, trauma, history, borders, culture, privilege and oppression, abuse, freedom and revolution – and how all of these are interconnected.
Shakur has been writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction their whole life. They have self published six zines, provided layout design for a friend’s zine, and contributed to several zines by others, including Outlaw Midwives. They are currently working on a new group zine titled “Make it Work!” about women makers, crafters, and artists. Shakur is also working to put together a book of poetry, beginning the process of collecting resources to write a birth workers’ guide to childbirth support for survivors of sexual violence, and working with Brooke Benoit to co-edit an anthology addressing the identities and unique issues of Muslim women artists. Additionally, Shakur writes book and zine reviews and critiques on the blog Book Lover’s Paradise and previously wrote book reviews for Feminist Review (now known as Elevate Difference). Other publication credits include the 2009 Speak! Radical Women of Color Media Collective’s zine & CD and the 2014 anthology Dear Sister: Letters From Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press).
Shakur originally learned how to crochet and embroider as a young child while spending time with elder neighbors, and was taught how to sew by the women in the family. As an adult, traditional Native and African beadwork and knitting skills were added. Shakur often combines these different forms of fiber arts to create unusual pieces of art for home and body.
Shakur also makes jewelry from found items, paints, and enjoys collage. As with their fiber arts pieces, paintings and collage are often combined with other elements to create mixed media pieces with unique texture and unexpected combinations of symbolism. Shakur is inspired by indigenous peoples, diasporic communities of color, spirituality and textiles from around the world, and being a part of cultural preservation by keeping traditions alive and passing them on to new generations.
Shakur is currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA) and pursuing a degree in Art History at Kendall College of Art & Design.
Shakur has previously published writing under the names Aaminah Raheemah, Aaminah Hernández, and Aaminah Al-Naksibendi. A founding member of the SPEAK! Radical Women of Color Media Collective, board member for the Islamic Artists Society, and a partner in the Thaura Zine Distro (all dissolved), Shakur is a current member of the Avenue for the Arts and founding member of the Resilient Women Arts Collective. Shakur is also a contributor to the 2014 anthology Dear Sister: Letters From Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press).