Ujima Fund Investor Report Interview: Tomashi Jackson
July 2nd, 2021 -- Black. Women. Entrepreneurs. Investors. This quarter for our Summer 2021 Investor Update, we sat down with a group of Black women entrepreneurs invested in the Ujima Fund, spotlighting how they connect to Ujima’s work. Investment for these women is not just material, but about broader support for small businesses and entrepreneurs of color in their communities.
Tomashi Jackson is a Los Angeles raised, Cambridge-based visual artist working to address systemic inequity through her artistic practice which investigates themes of policy and violence. Her research-based practice guides work which collapses past and present, painting and sculpture, archival evidence and lived experience. In recent years, Jackson’s work has exhibited at museums and galleries across the U.S., including MoCA Los Angeles, the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Kennesaw, Georgia and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Currently, her work seeks to address land dispossession and economic inequities that persist on unceded territories popularly known as Eastern Long Island, NY. During her residency at the Watermill Center in New York, she took time to speak with Ujima’s executive director, Nia K. Evans, about her creative process and investment.
Nia: Who are you?
Why did you invest in the Ujima Fund?
I have been watching Ujima grow from a concept into its inspiring reality. I am a solidarity member from way back.
What is your business name and general information about your business?
I am a working, exhibiting, and teaching visual artist. I work with two commercial galleries who represent my work. I make paintings, videos, and sculptures. I work with various people who are great at what they do to bring my projects to life.
How has interacting with or investing in Ujima helped shape your practices as a business owner?
Boston Ujima Project and The Ujima WIRE, specifically, impact me and my thinking around creating and facilitating concepts and spaces that may have seemed impossible to some.
This week I’m thinking about Paige [Curtis]’s words (#AfroFuturismEdition) on thoughtful preparation and collaboration. Ujima’s practices of engagement and historical reflection become embedded in how I try to contribute to spaces with other people in which we make things together.
Sometimes it’s my studio, sometimes it’s with my gallerists, sometimes in my classrooms with co-teachers, guests, and students, sometimes it’s among other communities I convene with regularly. When I do that we often end up seeing and feeling more purpose and possibility in whatever we are doing.
What makes you want to be an investor in the work that we do?
I fully believe in the mission to invest in BIPOC owned businesses in Boston through facilitated democratic processes that we all get to learn as we participate. For myself, I am still learning what it means to be a business owner myself. Ujima is helping me to see myself more fully that way.
What’s the story you want to tell about being a Black woman entrepreneur investor?
Even if you didn’t grow up investing or owning property you can grow and learn and see that so much more is possible. Patience and clarity are virtues in figuring out one’s place in this space that can indeed be empowered and joyful. Boston Ujima Project definitely makes that possible for me. In fact, it is the only organization that informs my life this way while opening doors of awareness to so many more organizations that [are] allied in this important work. It’s pretty amazing. ■
In 2021, Tomashi Jackson will present solo exhibitions at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and at the Parrish Museum of Art, Water Mill, NY.
Her work is currently on view in “Off the Record” at the Guggenheim Museum, NY. Jackson’s work is also included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; MOCA Los Angeles, CA; The Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA; and the Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Her work will also be included in “Working Thought: Art, Labor, and the American Economy” at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA in 2022; and in “What is Left Unspoken, Love” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA also in 2022.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TOMASHI AT TILTON GALLERY
AND NIGHT GALLERY.