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Black Sanctuary Gardens

Articles: Black Sanctuary Gardens

Nwamaka Agbo and her new landscape, a lush sensual space created in collaboration with the Black Sanctuary Garden project. Photo: Rachael Weill
Chef and food activist, Shakirah Simley writes about sanctuary as “the dire need to carve out physical, psychological, and social food spaces for those constantly on the periphery.” In the wake of Oakland’s shifting demographics and massive displacement, my artistic work aims to work within the realm of gardens and gardening to bring aesthetic refuge, nourishment, and cultural connection to black women and black spaces who have historically sustained, and continue to shape and preserve the Oakland community.
My lifelong interests in land use, environmentalism, design, and cultural preservation drive my creative work and help me build connections between people and the land with which they live. Urban environments are particularly fertile ground on which to enhance people’s connection with the land and our varying cultural heritage by creating gardens whose value can be measured by the feelings their beauty inspires, the food they produce, and the stories about our his...


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