I am Unity: Naima Merella

Artist Naima Merella is mid sentence, looking down as at plants as if describing them as onlookers in the background listen. Naima is wearing a wide brimmed straw hat, round wireframe glasses, and a sleeveless button-up tied cropped at their waist. The sun beats down on their and the rich foliage surrounding their and the onlookers.

Unity at the Initiative: a multi-site visual exhibition and at-home experience centering art by and for Queer and Trans Artists of Color. I am:_____ is a blog series to get to know our partners.

Naima is an herbalist, artist, yogi, energy worker, teacher and curator based out of Philly. Naima is passionate about healing and building community. They believe that as we heal ourselves as individuals, we help to heal the collective. Naima offers tactile experiences that help people heal through community, herbs, art, movement, music and energetics. Naima is the founder of Rosey Maple Teas, an organic hand blended herbal tea line that aims to help people support their physical and emotional well being using local herbs, sometimes grown in Naima’s garden, and herbs that are important to Naima’s ancestry. Naima hopes that these teas can raise awareness about the ways people have always partnered with plants, helping people understand that the earth provides us with most of the medicine we need, which will help people be able to connect more deeply with the earth and ultimately make decisions that help to protect the earth rather than exploit it. Using this small act to ripple out and aid in the larger climate crisis we are facing.

"My creative work takes many forms but right now I have been focusing on gardening and making herbal medicine and tea blends. I have a large shared garden space where we built up the land, creating garden beds held together by clover filled with medicinal herbs and fresh food. Then harvesting the plants and combining them in different ways to create food and medicine."

 

Finish this sentence with a word or two: I am a:_______

creatrix

What's the most half-baked hobby you took on since the COVID-19 shutdown?

Realizing I don't really do half-baked things, but a more esoteric hobby I've gotten more into is recording my dreams, and understanding them better through tarot.

What are you binge-watching?

A poster advertising the Cowboy Bebop anime, with four vibrant panels in alternating magenta and electric blue. Each panel features a different character from the show inked in black.Cowboy Bebop 

What's the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Bob's Burgers

If you were to create a signature skate move, what would the move involve/look like?

I would love to do some crazy move on a half pipe!

Anything you'd like to share with the world?

I love ways these tea blends have helped me connect with so many people in this time where it's so hard to be with community. So if you enjoy the tea I would love to hear from you!