Juneteenth Past Event Gem: Black Lives Matter 3-D Exhibit by Legacy Designs Studio

Aisha Abdul Rahman, Artist & Curator, Founder of Legacy Designs Studio. Source: Legacy Designs Studio

Aisha Abdul Rahman did it again! For the second year in a row, she curated a virtual Black Lives Matter exhibit on the platform known as Second Life. She arranged for this second edition to coincide with and celebrate Juneteenth, a feat that is even more meaningful in light of that historical date, June 19, being voted a federal holiday. Tune in to listen to Aisha share about the creation of her organization, Legacy Designs Studio, her transformative trip to Ghana, on the African continent, and her non-profit work with the Elmina School for Girls. See below for a written account of the journey that led her to her path as a creator and art curator centering Black voices and healing, and for a video interview about the current exhibit, which will end on June 30, 2021.

WHAT IS LEGACY DESIGNS STUDIO?

Legacy Designs Studio is a leading innovative, virtual art gallery highlighting some of the most amazing and talented, but often overlooked or hidden women and artists of color from around the world. Legacy Designs Studio specializes in the research and education of the public on Afrofuturism and the impact that artists of color are making around the world, through creative expression. 

Source: Legacy Designs Studio (logo)

WHAT INSPIRED THE GALLERY?

Inspired by Black Lives Matter Protests and the implementation of the COVID stay-at-home order, founder and Sacramento native, Aisha Abdul Rahman, set out to highlight the beautiful artwork and the artists that were not really being seen. After her first trip to the African continent, she wanted to find a way to bring Africans living on the continent as well as the diaspora together in a creative space: one to know one another and share the different but equally valuable experiences, and two, to learn from one another and reconnect through their shared values through art.

SUPPORTING ELMINA BASIC SCHOOL, IN GHANA, VIA A JUNETEENTH & BLM VIRTUAL ART EXHIBIT

The 2021 summer exhibition not only highlights talents of artists from around the globe, but is also a way for Aisha to raise funds for the Elmina Basic School in Elmina, Ghana. During her trip Aisha visited the school where girls were learning sewing and textiles… without sewing machines. Due to a lack of funding, the class was only taught in theory. It is Aisha’s goal to raise one to two thousand dollars via the option of VIP event tickets, to purchase 15-20 machines for the classroom, so the girls can learn to sew and use the machines vs just the theory of it. 

Aisha Abdul Rahman in Elmina Basic School, in Ghana, in the winter of 2021. Source: Legacy Designs Studio

HOW AISHA WORKS WITH ARTISTS

Aisha Abdul Rahman has personally experienced existential depression and, as a woman of color, has dealt with the insecurities of being a woman of African descent with little knowledge of her African ancestry. The visit to Ghana really inspired her to not only do as much as she can for the creative artists that inspire and empower her through their art, but to also support creative expressions on the continent of Africa as well. 

With regular themed events, Aisha seeks to curate artwork from lesser-known artists from around the globe and help them fully show up and share their gifts and talents with the world. Through these virtual events, Legacy Designs Studio shares the work of the artists in the virtual world of Second Life, as well as its social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Legacy Designs Studio also produces a podcast that highlights these artists through interviews about their creative journey as well as the stories behind the works that they have created. 

Legacy Studios Design’s Juneteenth Festival Virtual Tour (2021) Source: Legacy Designs Studio

LEGACY DESIGNS STUDIO UPCOMING GOALS

Legacy Designs Studio’s goals are to include ongoing workshops that assist artists in marketing their work, to design and develop artwork in the 3D virtual world of Second Life, and to help other creative organizations design and host their own virtual events in Second Life. 

COVID has shown us that embracing technology is not only a necessity, but that technology can also provide opportunities and access that was once unimaginable. In the podcast Manifest Your Brilliance, Aisha repeatedly hears artists expressing that COVID provided them the time to really help them to embrace technology and empower themselves. 

Video Interview: A Conversation with Aisha Abdul Rahman, June 2021.

UPDATES
– Legacy Designs Studio’s Juneteenth event was attended by over 2,000 visitors;
– The fundraising goals for Elmina School for Girls was met.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Connect with Aisha Abdul Rahman for information on upcoming events, and to partner with Legacy Designs Studios. Visit the organization’s:
* Website
* Second Life’s Land
* Podcast
* Follow Legacy Designs Studio on Instagram
* Follow Aisha Abdul Rahman on Instagram
* Twitter
* Pinterest

PB Review: Let The Faithful Come, written by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Charity Russell

Favorite Quote
“And as they travel from near or far,
Let fear and anger empty from their hearts.”
Let The Faithful Come, written by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Charity Russell.

Okay, picking just one quote was a difficult task, and I had to restrain myself to not give out too much of this unique nativity story. I purchased Let The Faithful Come two weeks ago, right before embarking on a long, long travel.

Let The Faithful Come, Zetta ElliottThere is something about reading this book on a plane – implying I was on my own “sacred journey”, in the dark, with as only source of light the illustrations jumping off a screen. How could I describe the experience? First the words hit you, your mind proceeds to process the depth of their meaning – “let them stand together in patient expectation” (side note: expectation! What a great word for kids to learn); and the illustrations give the final punch. Then you turn the page and it’s happening all over again.

There is something about reading this story in the midst of an escalation of terrorism acts on a global scale, including in places not covered by mainstream media, including in the very place where I am right now. Something about going somewhere, to celebrate the birth of a child and every child through him. Indeed whether you believe in God or not, whether Jesus-Christ means something to you or not, if you have children in your life chances are you will celebrate the end of the year by celebrating them, by offering the children who matter to you a gift.

There is indeed something about reading of a sign of hope to follow, questions regarding what is left of compassion in our world, and the reminder of how precious every child is.

Let The Faithful Come, Boat scene, illustration courtesy of Zetta Elliot & Charity Russell.
Let The Faithful Come, Boat scene, courtesy of Zetta Elliot & Charity Russell.

Refugees. That is the first word that came to mind when I ventured through the first pages. I sat up straight, and read the story again, and again. I used to be a Sunday school teacher (over the span of 25 years); as a bookseller I read quite an amount of Nativity stories during that short period of my professional time. Though I haven’t read all the Nativity books for children under the sun, this one is the first that struck me by its relevance in regard to current events, from the text to the modern-day illustrations. Let The faithful Come offers a unique opportunity to engage in dialog with young and old regarding the true meaning of Christmas, regardless of one’s religious background.

A note regarding the illustrations: Except for the last one, all the scenes are set in the nighttime. With the challenge that a night setting can present, I applaud Charity Russell for offering the reader such bright, vibrant and colorful depictions of journeys made in the darkest of times. I especially enjoyed the purple hue throughout the pages. In some cultures purple represents a royal color. With that in mind the illustrations could indeed infer that each person on these pages, despite his or her difference in clothing style, and skin tone, and body shape and gender, is royalty and therefore that the well-off person on top of the social ladder matters as much as the one below.
In addition, and here I’m being totally biased, it gave me such joy to see a child of color celebrated by a crowd. Thanks to the author and illustrator for such a positive image. A detail like that in a book can alter a kid’s outlook on his future.

Zetta ElliottAbout the author
Zetta Elliott, PhD, is an award winning children’s book author, a playwright, an educator and an activist. At the time of this post she has over seventeen books published under her imprint Rosetta Stone as well as traditionally. For additional information regarding her books and to get in touch with her, please visit

o Zetta Elliot’s website
o Blog
o Facebook
o Twitter
o Don’t Stop Believing: Guest post by Zetta Elliott on The Brown Bookshelf.

Charity russell & booksAbout the illustrator
Charity Russell makes a statement about her commitment to and passion about diversity in children’s literature from the moment you land on her website. Based in the UK, she has “a First Class Masters Degree in ‘Illustration and Design’ from The University of Sunderland, U.K.” For additional information regarding her work and to get in touch with her, please visit:

o Charity Russell’s website
o Blog
o Facebook

Updated on December 2, 2015 to correct minor typos.