For centuries, the art world in the western hemisphere has largely concentrated on amplifying the stories and work of white people. From Davinci to Van-Gogh, Pollock to Warhol, the names of influential white artists are familiar to us all, while the names of artists of color evade us.
It’s a little mind-boggling to think about how this fact has shaped our thoughts about who is worth being represented in art, what is beautiful and worth expressing, and whose point of view is most valued. If you never hear of an artist who looks like you, if you never see a well-known piece of art that shows a face like yours, how could you find your place in that world? How could art be for you?
Black voices have been suppressed by racism in the art industry and indeed, in all systems of our culture; but of course that hasn’t stopped Black artists from creating world-changing art. There are — and always have been — artists who are pushing back against racism and lack of acknowledgment of BIPOC in art circles.
Here are just a few of the many Black artists who unabashedly uplift, amplify, and celebrate Black lives, Black bodies, and Black stories, making it easier for young black and brown children to walk into a museum or gallery and see themselves in the work there.
Kerry James Marshall
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Feeling inspired? Check out these lessons & videos about other Black artists: