In honour of Black History Month - 6 Black Artists to Watch
As Black History Month kicks off, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the immense artistic talents within the Black art community. Art is such a powerful tool to provoke conversation, share personal stories, and even evoke change. These talented artists use their various mediums to tell the important, and but often misunderstood and misrepresented stories of the Black experience as a rich part of our collective cultural tapestry.
Kehinde's striking portraits use traditional elements from classical portraits of European, but using modern subjects in everyday clothing, often using photographs of young men on the streets of Harlem. These larger than life figures shake up the conventional images of portrait painting, blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary imagery and its portrayal of masculinity and common views of black and brown young men.
Multi-disciplined artist Derrick Adams has a diverse set of work including collage, sculpture, performance, drawing, and video. Heavily influenced by pop culture, he frequently re-purposes common every day objects in an unexpected way. For one series he updated mass-produced African figurines, turning them into superhero-like icons. In his collage works he frequently uses West African patterned fabrics found in his local neighborhood, speaking to the experience of being American, but also wanting to explore and embrace his African culture and heritage.
Having grown up in Brooklyn with a Haitian heritage, Patrick's pieces while very abstract, carry underlying messages that tackle social issues he encounters such as race and urban gentrification in his community. Of his work he has said, "I don't want to directly sit here and make bold statements about how this was done and why, but I see it. And I think as an artist I just want to capture your surroundings and embody what you're experiencing in a daily basis." See more of Patrick's work at Art Collectif.
Deborah's large scale collage work stopped us in tracks at Untitled Art fair in Miami last year. Powerful and emotive, these pieces have a sense of strength and determination, combined with a subtle feeling of vulnerability and self-consciousness. By creating collages using combinations of images and patterns collected from magazines and the internet, Deborah shares the complex story of what it means to be a young black girl today.
Nina Chanel Abney's pieces immediately pack a punch! With bold, graphic imagery and powerful depictions of issues of race, gender and class, she makes a big statement and provokes important conversations on these topics.
At just 21 years old, Tony's work has drawn international acclaim, recently winning the Pulse Art prize at Pulse Art Fair in Miami. Her recent show 'Ode to She' provides a reflection on navigating the modern Western world, within the context of the traditions she learnt growing up on what it means to be a traditional Xhosa woman. Having just been dubbed "the coolest girl in Cape Town by Vogue magazine, she's definitely one to watch!