April Kae is an activist and musician, and the creator of Imanigold. Her work centers on empowering the community around her, with a particular focus on young people of color and queer black femme identity. She uses social media to build spaces for frank discussions about civil rights and to tell stories of solidarity and strength, as April believes such spaces are essential to bringing about the non-violent change she works to create. She also partners with community stakeholders to bring these digital spaces to life. We caught up with her a few weeks back to chat about self-care, and discuss how she balances protest and personal growth.

Livien Yin for Nightingale




Recently, I’ve been focusing on health and the capacity to give. I applied to graduate programs this past fall and glued myself to the computer during those months. Bodily neglect and anxiety led to distraction while spending time with friends. In moments when mental, physical needs are met, I’m released to engage the needs of others. During the national election, we witnessed waves of fear replace compassion for our neighboring communities. I believe internal balance can make way for generosity in interacting with strangers, or allocate one’s attention toward supporting the natural environment, the effects of which ripple back to individual wellbeing.


The process of painting, when I enter those elusive periods of fluid image-making, is an activity that takes my mind away from concerns of the self. A fleeting sense of lightness that I equate with optimal health. Many of my illustrations depict destinations based on conceptions of personal peace. These spaces tend to be vacant of others, animated by collections of physical artifacts and surface textures. I often push flamboyant pigments in high contrast combinations to celebrate unity among different rather than similar traits. Viewing other artists’ works, I linger on pieces that build intimacy with subjects initially presented as foreign to our individual experiences. By practicing art, I strive to foster empathy between disparate parties, and similarly approach health as a means to strengthen connections between people.



3459947Livien Yin
is an artist and illustrator living in Oakland, CA, and this issue of Nightingale’s featured artist. She is the Co-founder and illustrator of Civic Quarterly.

Twenty-Seven Bones and Infinite Possibilities



For this Portland Artist, Hands Tell the Story


Southeast Morrison Street has always been one of the more characteristic drags of Portland, Oregon. Along it, you will find the city’s favorite strip club, a field that used to be managed by working goats, and a large pink house in the middle of an empty lot across from a gay bar. The street is changing, however, and its evolution is emblematic of a bigger transformation of my city. When the housing market began on an upward trend in 2014, change was inevitable. The tech industry took up a burgeoning presence, coveted dives were demolished left and right, and even our beloved goats were relocated, a moment in which our community reacted with a level of mourning reserved for local celebrities. I now drive east and I can’t remember what the goats looked like, or how many of them there were. The metaphor here writes itself: the once idyllic is now industrialized and the cherished monuments of the city are not as immortal as we thought.

Solo Flight



A baby sparrow gently held in one curled hand, a black-bulbed glass eyedropper in the other. My Mom sat at the kitchen table, a homemade circular plywood affair she had tiled in concentric rings of tiny squares of white and blue and blue and blue on curving rummage sale chromed steel legs. On the table sat a rainbow glaze-splattered ceramic boomerang ashtray – also the work of her capable hands. A cigarette perched in one of four identical divots and unfurled an endless curling smoke tendril, rising to lose itself against the brown-stained white acoustic ceiling tiles above. Between the ashtray and the ever-present cup of black coffee sat a little bowl of milk with bits of floating white bread. The eyedropper inhaled another load of milk and bread and took careful aim at the gaping baby bird beak. “Hold still, dammit.” The bulging newborn swollen-closed eyes bulged a little more as the eyedropper was rammed deep down the tiny throat to disgorge its contents into the belly of the little bird.