Meet Adaku Utah
May 5, 2015
Meet our 2015 Fellows!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
I am deeply inspired by the work of Ayiti Resurrect!!! Ayiti Resurrect is a team of visionary artists, community builders, holistic healers, and organic farmers with bloodlines in Haiti and the African Diaspora, working in collaboration with a rural community in Leogane to support the healing and upliftment of the survivors of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This past year, I had the honor of joining the 4th delegation, leading yoga and movement workshops, herbalism, women empowerment healing circles, and sexual health and reproductive rights dialogues.
The 22 delegates teamed up with numerous healers, artists, farmers, and community organizers in Komye (Leogane, Haiti) guided by our hearts and a commitment to reciprocal healing, teaching, and learning.
We implemented health and dental clinics, facilitated arts and sustainability workshops at the local school, led herbal medicine classes, women’s empowerment circles, sexual health and reproductive justice dialogues, community workshops (including yoga, percussion, song, children’s field games, sculpture, photography), and peer-to-peer artist skill shares. Together we also commemorated the 4th anniversary of the earthquake, produced a community concert and cultural celebration, built a solar mango dryer, and weeded, gave compost, and water to hundreds of tree seedlings planted last year.
Ill be joining the 5th delegation this year to do similar work and continue this powerful potent Haitian solidarity and healing work.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
I love Prospect Park! I have the privilege of living about a block and a half away from this gorgeous sanctuary. Since I’ve moved to NYC 5 years ago, this space has been such a powerful vessel for deepening my practice as an herbalist and mindfulness practitioner, cultivating relationships with my fellow community members, and healing me from a severe bout of depression that I did not think I would survive. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, I spend at least 3-5 days of the week frolicking, meditating, running, writing, teaching herbalism workshops, and canoodling with dear friends in the park.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
Favorites are hard for me because of the hierarchy it implies. A book that has influenced my love for NYC and for life hands down has to be Zami: A New Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde. This exquisite biomythography that eloquently weaves poetry, song, journal entry and herstorical memory. is an encapsulating blueprint of a queer, working class, Black woman’s life in NYC in the middle of this century.
I could cocoon myself in this book forever and have often sought after it in times when I as a Black, Queer, working class woman needed to break the silences that needed to be heard.
If you have an idea of a blog post or topic you’d like to contribute to our blog, please share below!
Self Care Tools for Artists and Change Makers
Herbs in the Hood: Herbal Medicine in Brooklyn
What is the web address for your blog?