Sadie Red Wing and Saki Mafundikwa grew up a world and two generations apart. Sadie was born into the Lakota tribe and also considers herself a citizen of the Spirt Lake Nation of Fort Totten, South Dakota—two longstanding American indigenous communities. Saki, on the other hand, didn’t set foot in the United States until he left his native Zimbabwe at age 24 in 1979, almost twenty years before Sadie was born.
Despite their different points of origin, their approach to their chosen profession is strikingly similar. They’re both pioneering designers who focus their practices on giving voice and context to underrepresented communities whose rich visual languages have often been subsumed or ignored by mainstream design’s bias toward Western modes of communication.
Saki and Sadie joined forces for the first time in a joint workshop at ArtCenter entitled: Finding Our Way Home. The four-hour workshop created a space for students of all backgrounds to visually identify themselves, exhibit pride in representation and come away inspired to allow their heritage to inform their design work. We’ve also included a first-hand perspective on the workshop from participant, Amina Maya, a photographer and designer who works as a Junior Creative Director at Black Girl in Om, and Founder of Naturaliste Apothecary.
This thought-provoking episode of Change Lab explores some of the most vital issues facing both design and academia through the lens of Sadie and Saki’s unique but parallel journeys toward better representing their own cultures in their work and encouraging diversity and inclusivity throughout the arts.