Alum Angelica Ekeke Elevates Untold Stories as 'Visual Symphonies'

Friday, November 08, 2019
Photo of Angelica Ekeke sitting at piano wearing a fedora

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- On a warm October night inside San Francisco’s Sydney Goldstein Theater, Angelica Ekeke’s soprano soars above the audience as video clips flicker across the screen behind her. Accompanying her onstage is a group of musicians — violinists, a pianist, a cello player and a small choir. It’s opening night of the Reimagine End of Life festival, and the story they are telling through images and music, titled “Removal,” documents the death of a man named Sahleem Tindle, who was shot by BART police in January 2018. After the performance ends, Tindle’s mother joins the group onstage, and the audience surges to its feet in a standing ovation.

Pursuing a career as a polymathic creative while piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of financial survival in the Bay Area was no easy feat. Ekeke came to San Francisco in 2014 as a transfer student to San Francisco State, graduating with a degree in photojournalism. Afterward, she worked at the Museum of the African Diaspora, filming and producing community-based short films, but was laid off after budget cuts. To get by, she started producing freelance art exhibitions and film trailers, and doing photography gigs — “a little bit of everything,” as she puts it.