A few years ago I put together a blog post gathering of artwork that I had been gazing upon at that point in time, imagery that enraptured and entranced me, and that buoyed me and kept me afloat when life was feeling rough. Art, in this transportive and transcendent way, is a great balm for me. It always has been.
One thing I noticed about that little gallery, is that, though beautiful, it’s not very diverse, and to put it bluntly, it’s quite full of white faces. I know what my tastes and inclinations are, and I know what I personally find engaging and compelling (moody midnight feels and otherworldly splendor 4ever.) Without sounding too defensive (I hope) I will state unequivocally that I find beauty in all colors of faces and shades of people that inhabit the canvases of the art that I love. But. I’ve actively never examined where it is I am finding these works that I gravitate toward, and who it is creating them–and questioning myself as to why searches for the art I love are so exclusive and narrow.
Black art matters. And it isn’t that Black art is rare or that Black artists are in any way less talented, so why I am not seeing it? Well, the answer is that the onus is on me, as a passionate and enthusiastic admirer of the arts, to find it. To share it. To support it. And to that end, I have been making a daily habit of actively seeking out art created by Black artists and makers of color.
We are living in strange and fraught times right now with this recent and unprecedented-in-our-lifetime pandemic calamity hanging over our heads and our homes, and the long-standing unjust, and, unchecked crisis of violence and oppression of Black people. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating, and I have to believe that we can do better. I have to believe and push at our governing bodies to do better. I have to believe that we are on the precipice of a change.
And sometimes when doing and pushing and even believing is too much…I have to take a break and look at some art. Below are some articles and reading that I have found interesting, informative, and insightful, and below that, I have included a small but powerful gallery of incredible art created by brilliant Black artists.
🖤 Black Art Matters: Why Our Creative Visual Contributions Should Be Valued And Represented More Widely
🖤 The People Behind the Black Lives Matter Art Being Shared on Instagram
🖤 7 Prominent Artists Of The Harlem Renaissance In NYC
🖤 Here are 6 groundbreaking African American artists who have made history.
🖤 Culture Type Picks: 14 Best Black Art Books of 2019 (a few months old, but that’s ok!)
🖤 Young Black Artists Speak About the Role of Art in This Moment
🖤 6 Black artists to support during nationwide protests
🖤 Black-Owned Galleries to Support across the United States
🖤 15 Enlightening Books About Black Art
🖤 ‘Art Is Just A Language’: Dinah Poellnitz On Black Art And Protesting
🖤 10 Museums To Learn About Black Culture, Art, And Design In The US
🖤 Aaron Samuel Mulenga: The Power Of Black Art And Representation