Halima Afi Cassells is an award-winning interdisciplinary community-engaged artist, mom of three, and avid gardener with deep roots in Waawiiyaataanong/Detroit, MI. She credits gardening as inspiring her move away from painting to a practice where she aspires to use natural and upcycled materials and processes that lend to the thriving of all (human and non-human) communities.
She is continually going down rabbit holes, seeking to understand the interconnectedness of the British monarchy and common law systems, global corporatism, climate crisis, and the impacts on the self to return to a right relationship. As an advocate for all artists and cultural practitioners, she has spearheaded many community processes that uplift cultural capital from often-exploited communities and continually create in a collaborative context. She is a core partner of Arts in a Changing America, the Waawiiyaataanong Arts Council, Equitable Detroit Coalition, Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition, and a longtime National Conference of Artists member.
Cassells continues to explore relationship-building and the notions of freedom/work, value/disposability in a participatory context through projects like the “Free Market of Detroit” (2015 Knight Arts awardee), her Tables and Thrones series (featured on WDET’s Artist Next Door 2021), and “Travelling Indigo Vat”. Her work has been featured at Art @the Max, Virgil Carr Center, The Wright Museum, MOCAD, Skylight Gallery (Brooklyn), Njelele Art Station (Harare), Ny Carlsberg Foundation (Copenhagen), and in a multitude of spaces in the public realm.