...africans collectively created a space whereby they asserted themselves as self-reliant stakeholders in the post-colonial era. this consciousness that was formed, which was birthed from the idea of unity and a new, imagined, autonomous africa, represented the first instance in history where africans could claim their rights. It was also the first instance where africans recognized themselves as self-determining, thus shaping and contributing to the discourses surrounding human rights, antidiscrimination and social justice. a fashioning of a new africa, or a reinvention of africa, by africans and the diaspora, began to take form, using the language and essence of human rights as an anchor. understanding pan-africanism as a consciousness, which led to various, sprouted social movements across the continent and in the diaspora (from the grassroots to the political space), requires an excavation and peeling back of the ways in which mass oppression, through colonial rule, gave birth to this global ideology.
Desirée Venn Frederic is a Sierra Leonean born writer and installation artist of Geeche and Maroon ancestry. Her work pulls heavily from her transnational experiences and understandings. The artist and thought leader explores identity, ownership and contemporary ideas in aesthetics. As the founder of Nomad Yard, a globally minded vintage shop in Washington, D.C., Venn Frederic creates a playground for those who love culture, history and rare antiques steeped in stories. She uses her work to negotiate multiple strata of marginalization being both undocumented and an aboriginal indigenous woman. She is an interior designer creating experiential spaces and interiors. She is a community organizer and founding member of Artist Union DC, with a keen interest in cultural studies and artistic expression. She is particurlarly interested in the ways in which fashion, visual culture and critical theory inform, shape and encourage discourses surrounding the socio-economic, political and cultural. Venn Frederic has shared her creative interests as an exhibiting artist with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center drawing parallels of her own personal immigration detention in 2013 to the criminalization of human existence throughout history. She holds degrees in Fashion Merchandising, Business Management and a certificate in Community Advocacy and is fluent in French and Krio. As a speaker, she has engaged TED Talks as well as audiences at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, The National Endowment for the Arts National Maker Faire, Ted Talks, Made in DC Maker Summit, General Assembly, and Creative World’s Creative Economy Summit. As an ambassador with Define American, the activist shares her personal journey to expand the narrative of immigrants. She exists via the internet sphere simply as @xoDVF. She is a mentor to 2 college aged creative entrepreneurs and loves vintage kimonos.