This month, we are sharing artists whose work unteaches who is at the center of art and culture and offers bold and vivid lessons about Black culture and history. These Black, women artists create works that empower Black women, challenge their viewers, and inspire awe. These works share stories pulled from deep traditions, and in view these works we learn about these artists’ journeys to find both their own place in history, while affirming the value of embracing new ways of learning who they were and who they are.
Harmonia Rosales is an Afro-Cuban American artist whose art focuses on Black woman empowerment in Western culture. Her work reimagines new forms of aesthetic beauty and honors her ancestors in ways that promote self-love.
Ariella Israel is a visual artist who specializes in hand-painted apparel, custom paintings, and family portraits. Her works show Black women in a “royal state based on the Bible.” The details in her paintings bring subjects to life.
Brionya James from Austin, TX considers herself a “God Taught Artist.” Her works reflect Black essence, love and appreciation for Black culture.
Gerda Boateng paints from a place of knowing. A self-taught artist, she illustrates girls like herself “so they know we are art too.” She refers to her work as “practical art.” Her works focus on the beauty found in the “flaws” based on negative perceptions perpetuated by media/community and personal insecurities.
Bisa Butler’s work tells the story of American life from the Black perspective. Quilting, a key component of her work is a telling of her own story, “I quilt because this was the technique that was taught to me at home.” And because it’s a part of the fabric of Black culture as enslaved men and women made quilts out of the bits and pieces of worn-out clothing. Her figures are done in life scale to invite the viewer to look them directly in the eye and engage in a dialogue with their history.