Featured Artist: Rekhet Si-Asar
Rekhet Si-Asar is a literary and visual artist, publisher, Minneapolis school psychologist and the Executive Director of In Black Ink (IBI) a statewide publishing arts initiative located in St. Paul, MN. Born in Georgetown, Guyana, South America, she grew up in New York where she completed a specialized degree program at the High School of Art and Design before pursuing her BA and Educational Specialist (Ed.S) in child/school psychology. Rekhet recognized early on the integral role education held in saving the world, and the ways in which Black students were often discriminated against - she reports feeling that she and her peers were considered second-class citizens in schools, regardless of their histories or talents.
In 1998, Rekhet and her husband started a small publishing company with the intention of developing a curriculum that reflected the diversity found in school systems. Ten years later, when her husband’s mother passed away, Rekhet was struck by the number of stories lost in her mother-in-law’s transitioning. She wanted to create a space for authentic Black narratives; a way for the diversity of heritages and identities present in Minnesota to be shared. “The less you know someone, the less space you have to care for and love them... People don’t know each other’s stories. We need to do better.”
In Black Ink is how she’s doing just that. Through community funding and support, the publishing initiative was formed in 2016 as a non-profit vehicle for accessing and sharing stories to inspire understanding and preserve cultural identities. Today, In Black Ink continues to be a place where Black artists can be heard, gain experience and develop their skills. They have recently formed the Black Publishing Arts Collaborative, building a network of Black publishing professionals to make diversity more easily accessible for publishing companies, and other publishing arts organizations.
To support Rekhet and her work, visit www.inblackink.org to learn more about the organization, purchase books the organization has helped to publish, and to donate.
Feature from July 30, 2020 interview conducted by Cadence Eischens, Social Media Director of the Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community
Black Artists have shaped American culture for centuries. In an effort to lift up BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) voices in our community, the Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community has begun a series of occasional installments featuring different BIPOC artists.
Our second part in this series, beginning now after a summer recess, focuses on personal interviews with BIPOC artists in Minnesota today.