February 17, 2022

Black Excellence on Campus

As part of Oakwood School’s celebration of Black History Month, members of our Parent & Guardian Organization have activated and transformed our elementary and secondary campuses. Educating and sparking joy, the visually impactful banners, artworks, and posters hung in every corner highlight past, present, and future Black leaders. We are deeply grateful to the Black History Month heritage celebration committee and all Parent/Guardian volunteers who were involved in making this happen.

History has shown us that acknowledgement, accurate education, and celebration of our true history is one of the best gifts we can ever leave behind. As a proud parent, I am inspired daily by the pursuit of normalizing that my children get to see themselves and subsequently, take pride in the images, words, story, their history, and the experience that surrounds them.

Kara Sax, Oakwood Parent/Guardian volunteer

Of particular excellence is new artwork on display in the heart of our secondary campus. Created by 10th-grader Ninah, this powerful piece celebrates Black history and excellence, with a focus on both towering figures and lesser-known individuals. Learn more about what influenced Ninah, and how she hopes her artwork will bring to the Oakwood experience in this Q&A:

Ninah's Artwork on display at Oakwood secondary campus.

How did you produce this artwork, and what were you trying to do from a formal point of view? 

I used an app called Procreate. I did it digitally. The most important thing for me was just getting the likeness and being able to look at someone and be like, oh, that’s so and so. I guess the iconographic, slightly stylized realism, was what I was going for. I also love using colors, so I put some thought into those as well. The main idea was to have a mix of the Pan-African flag and the American flag as my color palette. This is meant to represent where we as a Black community, how we come from Africa and where we are now, and where we put our roots and built our culture. 

Have you always been an artist, and are there any artists who inspired you?

You could say that. I’ve definitely been interested in art since I was little, and I’ve been doing it ever since. There’s a bunch of people I could definitely say have influenced me and my art. I think the biggest one has been my dad, because he was an artist. When I was a little kid, he did a lot of doodling and stuff. H drew a lot and I would draw with him. That I think definitely inspired me to keep pursuing art as I grew up.

Is there anything you want Oakwood students, teachers, and staff to think about when viewing the artwork you created?

I guess just to let it inspire you to dig deeper and to not stop at Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. To really do further research on Black history, outside of what you’re going to get education-wise in school.