Communications professor erects artistic home garden

By Melody Ortiz

When he’s not teaching communication, professor Kashif Powell tends to his art garden at home.

Powell, 33, has gathered art pieces to fill in his backyard garden.

The space includes original, remade and purchased pieces.

The garden also included plants like rosemary, tomatoes, spinach and more.

Powell wants the space to be a place of refuge and expression.

“I want it to be a place I can invite my friends, loved ones and community to,” Powell said.

He named the space The Art Garden LA.

He wanted to combine his and his girlfriend’s interests.

His partner-in-crime, as he calls her, Dr. Kertia Duga is a naturopathic doctor and uses                                   natural forms of medicine.

Before moving to their current home, Powell and Duga lived in an apartment with only a small patio.

Duga hoped for a garden to grow her natural medicines and Powell made planting space by transforming things such as dressers and an ammo box.

Now that they have a bigger place in Inglewood, their garden has grown.

The Art Garden LA has a fire pit, a small greenhouse and plants intertwined with art.

Powell enjoys sharing photos of the garden with his communication students.

He said that communication and expression  can come in many different forms and that he                    likes the art and performance forms.

Powell has been at ELAC for two years but has been teaching since 2008.

He has taught classes on debate, Afro-Futurism, hip-hop and Beyonce. He calls himself a storyteller and professor of expression.

He greatly enjoys communication studies and believes communication is important in most fields and makes us human.

“We couldn’t be human without each other,” Powell said.

Before he found his love for speech, Powell went to school to be a lawyer and thought a debate class would help him.

He changed his direction and now holds a doctorate in performance studies.

Powell said that he prefers teaching at a community college rather than a university or Ivy League because he can connect and relate more to the students.

“I wouldn’t be able to teach students who are wealthy and privileged because that’s not where I came from,” Powell said.

He said that his students are hardworking.

“Most of these students have jobs and families to support,” Powell said.

His former student Sonia Lopez said she took his class in the 2017 fall semester and found it to be a fun experience.

She described him as charismatic, cheerful and funny.

“He pushes you in an encouraging way, not a forceful way,” Lopez said.

She said he was more detailed and helpful when explaining the exact steps and structure of writing and performing speeches.

Lopez said his art garden is unique in its own way.

“It’s a part of who he is,” Lopez said.

Powell also enjoys bike riding, poetry and is currently trying to learn about animation to bring his poetry to life.

He said, however, his first love is writing.

Pictures of the art garden can be seen on Instagram by searching the_art_garden_la.

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