Wided Rihana Khadraoui

As an Algerian immigrant growing up in Washington, D.C., I’ve always been “the other”.

As a young kid, my mother would drag us into spaces all over town where nothing looked like us and nothing spoke to our story. Art was an early influencer, but never a mirror of me.

Those early years propelled me into activism starting with a masters in Comparative Politics from the LSE in London, U.K. After a commission to write a chapter in a book about MENA art, I felt the pull of art to galvanize culture, so I went back in for my second masters in Art and Cultural Enterprise from the University of the Arts London. My dissertation started with a snappy, “Are museums racist? Yes.” Needless to say, I left with my eyes on helping toss out the old narrative around artists of color and craft a new one through innovative tools, expanding exposure, commercial success and, my favourite, technology. Fostering diversity and inclusion in any creative field goes hand in hand with the innovative use of technology, so exploring those possibilities lives at the forefront of my mind day in and day out.

This is where Tazuri begins.

Tazuri

Tazuri means “art” in Amazigh, the language of the Imazighen, a pre-Arab ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. In action, it means the empowerment, emphasis and exposure of artists of color to the world.

Started out of more than just a diversity trend or a desire to give a shit, we gather as collectors, creators and collaborators to challenge the color conversation – to do rather than just talk, to speak instead of staying silent, to begin a new script rather than read the same whitewashed one. We stand for artist narratives that broaden the idea of a “minority experience” and use technology in both the digital and physical spaces to overturn expectations, revolutionize the norm and blow the old practices of art out of the water.

What is an artist of color?

When we say artists of color, we’re talking about any tokenized and marginalized artist seen and identified as “the other”, particularly non-white individuals influenced by systemic racism, part of the overall diaspora and anyone from the global south.

We recognize artists of color as a loosely-defined phrase that encompasses people of diverse ethnicities, gender identities, religions, ideologies and languages.

Tazuri wants to stress that we are not looking for artists that work only with the themes of ethnicity, race, and culture. We don’t want artists to feel any undo obligation to represent their ethnicity or race. Rather the emphasis on definition is how you’ve had to navigate the world and what privileges you’ve been afforded.

To us, “the other” is a temporary tool of language we use to lift, leverage and, ultimately, empower anyone who identifies as such. But as we work with it, it will become outdated and irrelevant as our world embraces all humans as equal and included.

Will you or do you represent caucasian artists?

Transparency is a priority, so let’s really talk. My focus is underserved communities, and white artists are not under-served. Tazuri is conscious of the various systematic barriers that work against artists of color and wants to work towards a more balanced society where everyone can thrive and feel valued regardless of race and ethnicity. We’re not there yet. In the meantime Tazuri specifically chooses to focus on supporting, encouraging and empowering artists of color. Tazuri encourages you to take the initiative to help champion whichever group you vibe with the most. We do want to collaborate with anyone and everyone who is interested in a more inclusive art sector, so get in touch regardless of race if you want to scheme together.

Why a digital art space?

It’s clear that the art world only continues to grow. Online art sales are increasing and sites like Instagram are making it easier to discover emerging artists. Digital platforms are part of the very potent transformation. Technology has the ability to expand opportunities to move towards an actual equitable creative sector beyond tokenism and lip service.

What resources or artists would you recommend to get me started in knowing more about this issue?

I collate every good bit on this issue into a running list of resources around inclusion, diversity and equity looking especially at art museums and commercial art spaces before formatting it into my monthly newsletter. Head over and sign up!

When are you coming to my town?

We will let you know if we’re coming through, so stay in touch through our mailing list.

Do you ever speak on panels or serve as a guest on a podcast?

I’m absolutely open to opportunities to chat about race and ethnicity in the creative sector, the importance of intersectionality, starting art collections, finding minority artists, inclusion, diversity, equity, different means of investing in art, and value driven businesses. Head to my “Say Hi!” section to get in touch if you’re looking for a thought leader in any of these areas.

Do I have to have a minimum number of pieces to be a Tazuri seller?

All artists need a portfolio of a minimum of five pieces to get started. Original paintings, drawings, watercolors, and two and three dimensional mixed media as well as limited edition photography and prints are accepted.

How long does it take for my piece to arrive? How much is shipping?

Shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer. We’ll contact you to arrange it through a common carrier like FedEx or a specialist fine art shipper. You’ll also receive a Certificate of Authenticity with the artist’s signature and an exact description of the piece.

Can I return art/do you do refunds?

Unless the artwork is damaged, sales are final in most cases. If an artwork arrives damaged, you’ll have seven days from the date of delivery to notify us of your intent to return the work for a refund.

Can I volunteer with Tazuri?

Tazuri is always looking for like-minded people to carry the cause. Supporting artists of color can be mutually supportive even when perspectives and strategies of participants vary by race and ethnicity. Get in contact if you want to collaborate, work together or have suggestions.

How does Tazuri pay it forward?

5% of Tazuri’s annual profits will be donated to Curated x Kai, a crucial game changer in the area of inclusive representation. They utilize technology to provide opportunities and increased accessibility to cultural institutions and experiences for students and young adults with a focus on those in underserved communities.