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FEBRUARY - LOVE AND BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Stephanie G-M on

I've decided to coin this month Love Month and really celebrate and share something I love, Art tied into Black History Month. 

Black History Month pays tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled to achieve full citizenship in American society and became a month long celebration in America as of 1976. Crazy because th I feel like we learn best when we learn through channels that already inspire us, so I've decided to put together my love for Art and Black History Month and research some Black Artists that have changed History. 

 

I did a degree in Fine Art, which is how I became a makeup artist, it really encompassed all the things I wanted from a job. Travel, social, creativity and collaboration. Imagery really ignites me, installation art is my kind of fantasy. Art is more than just a pretty picture and it's not something that everyone understands or wants to understand. It is a language; A language that allows artists to share their pain, love and feelings in a way an audience can use their own creativity to explore the meaning. It can be beautiful but it can also be ugly which feels like a perfect analogue, to me, of life.

 

These are the artists I chose because they're passion and their stories speak to me.

SAM GILLIAM

Artist Sam Gilliam Headshot

Sam Gilliam was an innovator in the 1960s, one of my favorite times for art, post war he broke molds of what was expected. As an African-American artist in the nation’s capital at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, he aimed to define art’s role in a society undergoing dramatic change.

Sam Gilliam, 10/27/69, 1969, acrylic on canvas, installation dimensions variable, approximate installation dimensions: 140 x 185 x 16 inches, (355.6 x 469.9 x 40.6 cm), Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, photography by Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

 

JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT

Portrait of Jean Michele Basquiat 

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was an American artist with Haitian and Puerto Rican roots. Basquiat used social commentary in his artworks as a tool for introspection and for identifying with his experiences in the black community, and attacks on power structures and systems of racism.

This TEDEX video about Basquiat is worth watching and only a few minutes long.

In his short yet incredibly productive life as an artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting focused on his own condition as a black man living in the USA, vehemently proclaiming his hatred of racism. Produced just a year before he died, Victor 25448 assembles all the recurrent elements of Basquiat’s painting within its composition: fields of colour, logos, word play, figurative paintings and symbols. Painted in capitals like slogans, the word IDEAL is repeated three times: is this a reference to the American toy giant or a denunciation of the art market? When the painter died at the tender age of 27, he took the real meaning of the work to the grave with him, but it still remains a testimony to his commitment. While his message seems less incisive than other works such as Slave Auction (1982), Victor 25448 nevertheless captures the desperation of the young New Yorker facing the death of his dear friend Andy Warhol a few months earlier. Increasingly isolated, Jean-Michel Basquiat drowned his sorrows in alcohol and heroin. The distraught figure at the bottom right might even be a portrait of the artist himself...

KARA WALKER

Kara walker in front of one of her black and white piecesImage Credit: Ari Marpoupols

Walker, an American contemporary painter, silhouette artist, print-maker, installation artist, and a filmmaker, is known for slowly pulling the rug from under the viewer, exposing them to a world where she brings them into close contact with the issues of race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity.

black and white art piece depicting horrible acts around sex and race

KARA WALKER, SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS (THEY MIGHT BE GUILTY OF SOMETHING), 2017. COURTESY OF SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO.

 

ALMA THOMAS

Artist Alma Thomas and one of her colorful pieces

From left, Alma Thomas. | Photo by Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum; ALMA THOMAS, “Spring Flowers in Washington, D.C.,” 1969 (oil on canvas).

As a black woman artist, Thomas encountered many barriers; she did not, however, turn to racial or feminist issues in her art, believing rather that the creative spirit is independent of race or gender. She explored the power of color and form in luminous, contemplative paintings.

 

"Man's highest aspirations come from nature. A world without color would seem dead. Color is life. Light is the mother of color. Light reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors."—Press Release, Columbus Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1982, for an exhibition entitled A Life in Art: Alma Thomas 1891–1978, Vertical File, Library, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

References - Pace Gallery, Numero Magazine, Stir World, Smithsonian American Art Museum

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