As clashes between those making a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline and local local law enforcement escalate in North Dakota — this week with reports of police unleashing rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons in below-freezing temperatures — Bay Area artist Saif Azzuz and the collaborative trio Bonanza decided to rally their own community to contribute to the cause.
“We’re very far away, but we wanted to contribute something,” Bonanza member Conrad Guevara says.
On Friday, Nov. 25, the NoDAPL Emergency Sale gathers work donated by over 65 Bay Area artists — including Robin David, Will Rogan, Mitsu Okubo, Jamie Thrower and Scott Hewicker — at Oakland’s City Limits Gallery. All proceeds go to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Standing Rock Medic and Healing Council, and the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund.
“People can donate money directly right now,” Azzuz says, “but this is one way to bring a lot of people together and push awareness about what’s happening.”
Donated works range in price from $5 to $500, says Guevara, who’s spending his time leading up to the sale picking up pieces from artists’ studios and homes.
Timed for Black Friday, the big-box retailers’ annual shopping day of cut-throat deals, extended hours and potential tramplings, the NoDAPL Emergency Sale is an alternative outlet for those seeking to more closely align their wallets with their beliefs.
And during November, which is Native American Heritage Month, many are finding it particularly hard to stomach rosy depictions of the “first” Thanksgiving in light of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ongoing struggle against the installation of Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which the tribe fears could contaminate its drinking water and violate its sacred lands.
“I’m Native, so I’ve always had a weird relationship with Thanksgiving,” Azzuz says. “At a time when everyone is sitting down to Thanksgiving, it seemed like it was also time to fight the injustices that are going on right now.”
While nonprofits spend months planning benefit auctions and soliciting artists for their work, Azzuz and Bonanza organized the NoDAPL Emergency Sale in a matter of days. The situation in North Dakota necessitated an immediate response, they felt, and if they could provide a platform for donations, they should.
Reflecting a prevalent post-election sentiment, Azzuz says of his resolve, “The way I’ve been thinking about everything has changed lately.”
The NoDAPL Emergency Sale takes place at City Limits Gallery in Oakland on Friday, Nov. 25, 12-5pm. For more information visit the Facebook event page.