Aaminah Shakur is an artist, poet, and intuitive, as well as an editor and culture critic. Their visual artwork is primarily mixed media that combines collage, painting, and traditional craft such as embroidery, beadwork, and other fiber arts. Their 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 graduated with a B.S. in Art History and minor in Museum Studies in May 2019 from Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, MI, and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Visual & Critical Studies.
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 and genderqueer 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. Shakur wrote 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). They have contributed copy editing to several projects, as well as sensitivity readings and consulting on various others.
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 an M.A. in Visual & Critical Studies after graduating in 2019 with a B.S. in Art History and minor in Museum Studies from Kendall College of Art & Design. They are focused on issues of diversity and inclusion, ethics, and accessibility to ensure that art writing, art spaces, and art conversations are genuinely inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
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), and former board member and Chair Affair Planning Committee member for Arts In Motion Studios, Shakur was also previously a planning committee 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). They are a current member of the TGNC Advisory Committe to the Grand Rapids Pride Center.