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We Are Activists— Tafv Sampson

At the heart of the most beautiful and important work is the act of world building. For us, it is the conceiving of the dream wardrobe for our best-imagined lives so that they might be made real, but world building touches everything that truly matters: the parent who creates the universe as they want it to be for their child, the partner who cultivates the soft contours of home, the activist who shows us the worlds that might be possible were we all to be the best versions of ourselves, the artist who captures what it is like to gaze at other stars so that we might more gracefully find our way by our own, and the storyteller who puts it all down in word or vision or labor of love.


The daughter of a powerful storytelling mother and a Native artist, actor, and activist father and grandfather, Tafv Sampson has been weaving together the bracing and beautiful threads of luminous world building for her entire life. Her poignant and aching photographic portraits, her lens-of-truth videography, and her distinctly authentic production design work—most recently on the beloved 'Reservation Dogs'—is the inheritance of generations of potent chroniclers. We caught up with Tafv in a whirlwind between her now-native Brooklyn and the siren's call of work and the road to talk about the value of vulnerability, the sense of longing and memory inherent in a great photograph, and the surprising gifts of blazing her own next steps on an ancestral path towards owning your own voice.

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WE ARE ACTIVISTS — LILY & AMY YUENG

Deeply rooted in the authentic nature of women is this simple truth: we contain multitudes. Like the prismatic spectrum of colors, we singularly embody the entire vast possibility of the human experience—the visible and the invisible, the gradation and the shadow, the light and the dark. It is a lot to carry but, like the spectrum of colors, when held in perfect balance on the right wavelength, the result is pure, shining light.

 

The women of Orenda Tribe, an Indigenous owned artistic collective based in New Mexico, are living this vision, working towards radiant balance and shining the light. Led by founder Amy Yeung, whose family comes from the Bisti Wilderness-Chaco Canyon region of the Four Corners, in partnership with her daughter and luminous muse Lily Yeung, Orenda Tribe makes beautiful things: handmade, restored and repurposed vintage, one-of-a-kind textiles in a universe of color. They are also a "community of hands", deeply committed to helping Indigenous makers and artists find opportunities to create and also leveraging the beauty of their vision to direct attention and resources from the world outside Dinétah in support of their Diné relatives. Their work feels both especially crucial and especially poignant and especially exquisite in this exact moment and we were deeply grateful to spend some time in conversation with them. Read on for our meditations with Amy & Lily on the vital gift of space and quiet, reconciling connectivity to community and self, and the power of standing together.

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WE ARE ACTIVISTS — DANIELLE BLACK LYONS
Maya Angelou wrote, "a woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing." For Danielle Black Lyons, the profound power of water to move and connect us is an inspiring force. And with her collective Textured Waves—a group of women working to bring greater inclusion and community to surfing—she works to make it accessible to all. We were lucky enough to spend a morning with Danielle to learn more about her journey, how she’s turned the practice of surfing into a transformative tool, and how she’s cultivating change in her community. . . . Read More
WE ARE ACTIVISTS — LEAH THOMAS
“Mother Nature should be for us all” — the work of environmentalist Leah Thomas is grounded in intersectionality, a theoretical framework that considers how one’s overlapping identities can collectively inform a more complex set of potential injustices and prejudices. In other words, it redefines the notion that activism ought to stick to one cause-driven lane by seeing that all systemic inequalities are interconnected. Read on for our conversation with Leah about what drives her work, the concept of intersectionality, and the movements that are bringing her hope right now. . . . Read More
WE ARE ACTIVISTS — BONNIE WRIGHT
In observing the world of actress, director, and environmentalist Bonnie Wright, the inclination to tell a story and to share the truth seem to fundamentally overlap. While having a resume that’s exposed her to an international audience, Bonnie’s passion has developed in pairing the often heartbreaking realities of modern times with a devotion to beauty, optimism, and possibility. Raised between London and the Southern coast of England, Bonnie now lives in West Los Angeles, where we visited her at her dreamy home in the canyons. Read on for our conversation about new definitions of ‘sustainable,’ the suspension of consciousness, and a life lived by the sea. . . . Read More

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