NoCR Artist Bios


Nikko Duren & el lee

Nikko's art practice is a reactionary process. They create as a way to rationalize and learn from the trauma that they, and their black queer/trans* ancestry, have endured. Since they were seven years old, Nikko wanted to be a choreographer. To Nikko's dismay, they were taught that art was “some white people shit.” In their journey of unlearning such ideas, including the belief that bodies are defined by the actions that they should and should not perform, Nikko has taken various avenues of creative exploration. Historically, their work has manifested as choreographed dance, oratorical presentations, video art, film production, and music making. In our cisheteropatriarchal society, we are socialized to make sense of the world using a short list of summative categories. Their work explores the consequential erasure of systemic categorization, representations of America, and the dark corners within the psyche of "oppressed" peoples.

el 李 lee is a visual and performing artist interested in dynamics of loss/care, longing/memory, dream/suffering in order to process through gender and geographic dysphorias.

“all last month i shout down sirens
drowning in blue dreams of a
safeless name”
film, 2018

Alexandra Aurora Hernández Zapata

Aurora is a fourth year student majoring in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. She was born in Managua, Nicaragua (la tierra de lagos y volcanes). She came to the United States at the age of four and lived in San Bernardino since she first came. Aurora has been an artist since she was a kid; however, she started presenting her artwork in district showcases at the age of 14.  Aurora stopped presenting them in showcases once she came to college because it was rare to have these type of opportunities. Most importantly, she'd like to honor Mrs. Tabler, a woman of color, who was the first to teach her the fundamentals of art. It was because of her that Aurora began to see her art as something political and beautiful that comes from her body, spirit, and soul. 

“Cosmic Flowers”
mixed media, 2017

Maya Peters Krostman

Maya was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and moved to New York when she was 3 and then back to Sao Paulo when she was 8. She then came back to the US when she was 14. When people ask her which one she is more of, American or Brazilian, I say both and neither. No matter where she lived, Maya always went to Penapolis, the small town in rural Sao Paulo her mother’s family is from, for Christmas, Hanukkah and new years. In the years she's been in the US this trip has been essential as it is the only time of the year she can see her extended family. The one year she was unable to go was when her sister was born. Her sister, Naomi, is "meu amor minha vida, minha privada entupida" which loosely means she is everything to Maya. In Berkeley Maya is studying Biology as a result of a long life fascination she's held for animals, nature and science. 

"Puppet Show with Vovo Carlito"
“Girl with Basket”
pastel and india ink, 2016

Dulce María López González

Dulce María López González’s art is based on her experience as a low-income Mexican immigrant woman living in the United States. Her artworks intend to shake the audience out of their comfort zone, in order to provoke, question, and analyze societal structures. Dulce uses painting, screen printing, watercolor art, and music in her projects. She addresses racism, sexism, immigration, culture, politics, and drug trafficking. She aspires to use her work to bring awareness about powerful issues and ultimately, to motivate people to create a positive change in the world, their future, and the future of others.

Dulce was born and raised in Jalisco, México where she began drawing from a veryyoung age. Because of her family’s economic struggle, Dulce sold doodles to her classmates, sparking a nearly interest in art. At age seven, she worked in the fields in addition to helping with housework and taking care of her studies. When she turned eleven years old, her family migrated to Santa Ana, California.

Passionate about the many issues of social injustice she experienced and witnessed throughouther life, she taught herself English and decided to pursue an academic degree. She is currently studying at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is majoring in Media Studies and minoring in a Practice of Art. She hopes to continue doing art to fight for the well-being of the people in her home country and her community in the United States.

"Amor Platonico"
watercolor painting, 2016

Rebecca Jacquez

Rebecca Jacquez is a woman of color artist that uses painting to translate her experiences and the history of her ancestors. 

"Amor Platonico"
acrylic painting, 2018

Melanie Mcallister

Melanie is a self taught artist based in Oakland, originally from High Point, NC. She relocated to the Bay Area in 2015 to further pursue art. Her artwork is a huge part of who she is; Melanie has been using it to express herself for as long as she can remember. She is heavily influenced by Frida Kahlo and the raw, extremely honest representation of her life experiences in her work. Though Melanie not a self portrait artist, she tries to express that same level of honesty in each of her pieces.

"Duality" 1 of 2
“Duality” 2 of 2
“The Burden of Black Womanhood”
acrylic painting, 2017

Jocelin Robles

Jocelin is a first-year student, with an intended Political Science and Education minor. When she is not busy with assignments, Jocelin is engaging in ways to contribute to her community. She likes to paint, give speeches/ debate and write. Jocelin sees those three as identities and tools of resistance and pedagogy. As an Oakland native, Jocelin tries to incorporate her roots into her art. Oakland is what woke the activist within her, compelling her to create art. Jocelin defines art as a platform for expression and the embodiment of emotional empowerment, not necessarily something tangible. If her art can successfully generate a discussion or make others aware of an issue, then her goal has been achieved. 

"City of Activism"
acrylic painting, 2018

Quijai Johnson

A humble spirit with a dynamic influence especially for the youth. An activist in legislation and an idol in the science field. Quijai has used art to escape from the harsh realities and stress that surfaces. Quijai encourages others to be bold enough and obedient enough to let their light shine because how people perceive you is none of your business.

oil painting

David Aguilar

David is currently a third year studying business administration, and trying to minor in art practice. They are originally from Reno, Nevada and is Salvadoran. They are interested in how technology can increase the visibility of QTPOC and is planning to intern with Google this Summer. Their art tries to meld parts of his cultural roots in Central America and their expression as a Queer person. 

“El Joto de Cuzcatlán”
acrylic painting, 2018

Kevin Betou

Kevin Betou is from Oakland, CA but currently attends school in Georgia. Kevin attended Oakland School for the Arts in high school where he gained many skills and mentors. He loves illustrating comic books and has a series he is working on called "Blackman". He created the series because of the lack of relatable characters Kevin saw growing up and is a common theme among his work. 

“Family Tree”
ink and digital, 2018

Gabriel Baboaye

Gabriel Babaoye is currently a third year Graphic Design student at the University of the Pacific. It all started when he couldn't seem to get my hands off of crayons and newspapers. This habit of constantly illustrating carried on throughout his elementary years as Gabriel continued to draw all over his homework assignments. Gabriel was later introduced to the Oakland School for the Arts where he underwent 3 hours of art classes daily for 7 years. With so many years of intensive training, he is now on a quest to discover his own artistic flavor, to find out what makes his work distinctive.

For Gabriel, the pinnacle of success for any artist is being able to discover and fully adapt to a specific style. There are exceptional artists everywhere, some have the ability to draw realistically, some have a keen eye for composition, or maybe some are good at cartoons/anime. What he's come to realize though is that just because you have the ability to execute photo-realistic pieces, doesn't make you the only person in the world that could do so. Gabriel feels like his realistic work is what people tend to pay the most attention to compared to his other work, simply because realistic work is generally harder to execute. A lot of his work consists of basic portraiture, but he's also tried patterns and even screen prints on clothing. Of course a crowd would gravitate towards the basic, rendered out pieces, but the real trick is to see how far he can go by doing something outstanding, yet different. 

“The Legacy Lives On”
print and digital, 2014

Maria HW

Maria’s an undocumented queer Asian Pacific Islander youth from Mexico who has emboldened her leadership within the immigrant rights movement and has created cross-racial solidarity among different communities. She has been involved in ASPIRE since 2014, and assumed leadership roles as the current ASPIRE Community Organizer and California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA) Steering Committee member. Maria has discovered that storytelling is a powerful vehicle for grassroots mobilization. Art has been Maria’s passion since a young age and she uses art with powerful purpose by tapping into her experiences as a queer undocumented youth. Maria is currently pursuing her B.S of Industrial Design at San Francisco State University. 

digital, 2016 & 2017

Samantha Espinoza

Samantha Maria Espinoza is a brown Chicanx artist living in Oakland, CA. She grew up in L.A. and Denver, CO and loves being a Libra. She references living in between worlds, borders, and homes as a marker of her Xicanx identity. Her work reveals her historical and personal traumas and abuses as openings for wider conversations on racialized, gendered, sexual, and capitalist oppressions. Her work is meant as a gift to fellow brown womxn in the hopes that they will see their stories reflected or whispered within her work. The basis of her thought process come from grassroots organizing, diasporic pains and memoria, and falling in love frequently. 

"Family Portrait"
screenprint, 2017

Agnes Artoonian

Diasporan Armenian. UC Berkeley undergraduate of philosophy. Photographer and artist.

“Roderick, Marita, Gegham and Vartanoush
“Shish grill”
film photography, 2018

Zahira Chaudhry

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Zahira uses photography as a medium to stop time and capture tiny moments usually left unseen. Zahira grew up taking photos of her family on birthdays, Eid and in everyday life. Zahira now uses her photography to highlight various personalities of the people she sees around her whether it be friends, family or complete strangers in the crowd. Zahira hopes to continue to create photo series to bind together various stories and create a collective voice. 

digital photography, 2018

Adrian Bello

As a shy and quiet child, Adrian's photography journey began at a young age as she became fascinated with being able to capture and communicate her perception of reality through photos. Since then, she has branched out to other art forms but still focus heavily on being able to communicate deep emotional messages that language often doesn't allow me to express. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Adrian has always been exposed to multicultural communities which taught her the importance of forging connections with people unlike us in order to better understand ourselves and the world. 

film photography, 2017

uyen hoang

Uyen Hoang (she/hers, they/theirs) is from Garden Grove, Orange County and is the middle child of five in her Vietnamese American family. In 2014, she received at BA in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies from UCLA. Currently, she is a graduate student pursuing her Masters in Asian American Studies and Masters of Public Health at UCLA. Her research interests employ queer and feminist frameworks to explore Vietnamese diasporic narratives, racial health inequities, radical community capacity building, and arts based health interventions.

"Decolonial Gestures"
digital photography, 2018

Rebecca Santana

Rebecca was raised in Los Angeles, and is currently a third year Sociology major at UC Berkeley. She uses a sociological lens to study her experiences with her intersecting identities. Photography and Film is Rebecca's preferred medium to express what she's learned and learning about herself. 

“Bell Gardens”
film photography, 2018

Samira Abed

Samira is a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in Political Science and minoring in African American Studies. She identifies as a Palestinian-American and hopes to bring attention to that through her work. This marks her first time submitting to an art exhibit since high-school.

"Lay Me to Rest"
Gouache, 2018

Kristiana Chan

Kristiana is a photographer and multimedia artist based in San Francisco. Born to immigrant parents in Canada and raised in the American South, she is interested in unraveling the cultural fabric of the Asian American diaspora in order to begin separating the entangled strands of trauma and cultural identity to heal multi-generational wounds. Her current work is investigating her own origin story and re-claiming her identity as a mixed race Asian American and second generation immigrant. Kristiana is a middle school art teacher, surf instructor for girls and women of color, and contributor to The Bold Italic. She is dedicated to uplifting the voices and experiences of women of color both in the arts and in the outdoor sports world. 

Gouache and cut paper, 2018

Haarika Kathi

Haarika is a UC Berkeley undergraduate studying biology and art. Her Indian heritage informs much of her work. She is passionate about genetics and enjoys working in a research lab, and often contributes to student galleries. 

colored pencils, 2016 & 2017

Fadel Fakhouri

“Burn My Phone and Take Me to Jericho”
written poetry, 2017