Imani Jacqueline Brown (b. 1988) is an artist, activist, and researcher from New Orleans. Her
work investigates the 'continuum of extractivism', which spans from
settler-colonial genocide and slavery to fossil fuel production,
gentrification, and police and corporate impunity. In exposing the
layers of violence and resistance that comprise the foundations of US
society, she opens up space to imagine a path to ecological reparations.
Imani works across the US, as well as
internationally in the UK, Poland, and Germany. She generates
public actions, occupies commercial billboards, writes polemics,
delivers performance lectures, and mobilizes a counter-cartographic strategy she calls cartographic unraveling––disentangling and analyzing the spatial logics used by colonial-corporate agents to make geography, unmake communities, and break Earth’s geology. She regularly engages with the United
Nations, including by delivering testimony and submitting reports as an
expert witness to organs of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Imani received a Master of Arts with distinction in Research Architecture (Forensic Architecture studio) from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2019 and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Visual Arts from Columbia University in 2010.
In 2018, Imani founded Fossil Free Fest (FFF), a biennial gathering of art, music, food and difficult conversations about the ethical contradictions of fossil fuel philanthropy and celebrate the impending end of the Fossil Fuel Era. The Fest was presented by Antenna, a multi-arts incubator in New Orleans.
From 2011–2018, Imani was a member of Occupy Museums, an artist-activist collective formed in 2011 during Occupy Wall Street to challenge the commodification and financialization of art and culture. Occupy Museums’ project, Debtfair was featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
From 2016-2018, Imani worked as Director of Programs at Antenna. In 2014, Imani co-founded Blights Out, a collective of artists, activists, and architects who worked for four years to demystify and democratize development in post-Katrina New Orleans. She was a board member of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a community land trust that built New Orleans' first permanently affordable housing from 2017-18.
In 2015, Imani traveled to COP 21 to help establish the international Museum Liberation Movement as part of #FossilFreeCulture. In 2014, she served under the artistic direction of Franklin Sirmans as Curatorial Associate and Manager of Publications for Prospect.3, the international biennial of contemporary art in New Orleans. In 2013, she took part in Winter Holiday Camp, the democratic takeover of the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland, in support of a union labor strike against the then-director. In 2009, she worked as the Oil and Gas Accountability Campaign Leader for Healthy Gulf, known then as the Gulf Restoration Network.