Imani Jacqueline Brown (b. 1988) is an artist, activist, and researcher from New Orleans, LA, US. Her work investigates the continuum of Extractivism, which spans from settler-colonial genocide and slavery to contemporary gentrification, fossil fuel production, and police and corporate impunity. These investigations expose the layers of violence and resistance that comprise the foundations of US society and imagine a future of ecologial reparations. Her methodology incorporates practices that might be called “public action research” and a counter-mapping strategy she calls cartographic unraveling––basically disentangling and analyzing the GIS lines and points drawn to make geography, unmake communities, and break Earth’s geology. Imani orients her practice toward the elusive flicker of justice on the horizon, knowing that our world will not find balance until reparations are won.
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; the Fest celebrates the impending end of the Fossil Fuel Era and opens space to imagine and design a #FossilFreeCulture. The Fest is presented by Antenna, a multi-arts incubator in New Orleans, and she continues to serve as its Artistic Director.
Imani is 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.
She was a co-founder of Blights Out, a collective of artists, activists, and architects who worked to demystify and democratize development in post-Katrina New Orleans (2014-2018) and 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. From 2016-2018, Imani worked as Director of Programs at Antenna, New Orleans.
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.
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.