Inside a lobby off Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland is a series of illustrations of educators and MCs, as well as photographers, poets and Black Panther Party members.
The portraits — all comprised of black jigsaw-puzzle-like images on top of yellow backgrounds with a vertical red line through the face — are a part of the Oakland's Black Modern Arts Renaissance exhibition by Shomari Smith.
"These are all of my people," said Smith, a visual artist and documentary filmmaker, at an opening reception with guests, portrait subjects and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao. "These are people who taught me, people I've worked with, people I admire and people I've been inspired by."
The images include portraits of Joan Tarika Lewis, the first woman to join the Black Panther Party, as well as Theo Aytchan Williams of SambaFunk!, OUSD educator Jasmene Miranda and jazz radio show host Greg Bridges, to name a few. (Full disclosure: there's even a portrait of me.)
As the wall text explains, the yellow backgrounds of Smith's portraits represent creativity, while the red line represents a shared African bloodline.