During Black History Month, it’s important to acknowledge the art world’s history of racial bias and the favoring of white artists. Even today, it is a continued struggle for Black artists to be seen and heard in the mainstream art world.
The following Black contemporary artists are sharing their world through their art, from stunning portraits to powerful narratives. Take some time to explore their work and support them if possible!
The Brooklyn-based artist is best known for ‘Stolen,’ a series of portraits for Black people who have died at the hands of the police. After first sketching the portrait with pencil, Brandon sets a timer for a specific amount of time, where one minute is equivalent to one year of their life.
He begins coloring the portrait with markers until time runs out, leaving him with an unfinished portrait. His incomplete portraits reflect the empty space in the lives and families of the victims of police brutality.
Brandon also uses his work to capture the beauty, love, and joy of the Black community. His digital paintings from his series ‘Brooklyn Windows’ illustrate various scenes of Black life through windows and balconies. From moments of celebration to scenes of family, each work gives a glimpse into a unique story.
You can follow him on Instagram at @ayy.bee and visit his website (adrianbrandon.com)
Symone is a graphic designer and digital artist who highlights women of color through portraits with her signature lines of tears falling from their eyes. The tears are symbolic of healing and emotional vulnerability, and embrace the idea that women of color can have softer, more delicate traits while simultaneously standing strong in them.
Symone’s work challenges negative stereotypes about women of color. Her art can also be found on the cover of Sharon Robinson’s memoir ‘Child of the Dream.’
You can follow her on Instagram @brtnysymn and visit her website (britneysymone.com)
Diop is a street artist who uses his paintings to speak out about racial injustices, honor figures that have a great impact on his life, and express his own personal experiences. After George Floyd’s death sparked protests around the country, Diop was one of the many artists who painted the streets of New York during the summer months of 2020. He used wooden boards and panels around the streets of SoHo as his canvas to make protest art. Colorful and confrontational, Diop’s work aims to make a difference in the world.
You can follow him on Instagram @amir.diop99 and view his work on sohorenaissancefactory.com
Dantzler creates paintings and digital illustrations centered around women, particularly Black women, through vibrant portraits that highlight their beauty. She intends to uplift other women of color and bring
them into various art spaces and social spaces. Each work features bold colors and exudes a powerful sense of confidence. Through her art, Dantzler hopes to contribute encouraging images and representations of Black women.
You can follow her on Instagram @aminahdantzler and visit her website (aminahdantzler.com)
Also referred to as ‘Stylez,’ Harvey primarily uses acrylic paint for his expressionist works, which are a reflection of his personality and his inner truth. He creates art to understand and freely express himself. He often incorporates a lot of color in his works, depicting Black subjects and making inspirational pieces that are meant to uplift himself and others.
You can follow him on Instagram @warren_harvey_art and visit his website (iamstylezartistry.com)
Walker creates drawings, paintings, and sculptures that address socio political issues. He often uses cardboard as a medium for his work; Walker sees the disposable nature of cardboard as reflective of the Black American experience and portrayals of Black lives in the media.
Walker’s art series ‘Criminalized’ and ‘Police Cross Lines’ depict the harsh realities of police brutality and violence and bring awareness to these issues. His recent project is a series titled ‘Black Fathers Matter,’ which aims to combat negative stereotypes of Black men as violent, aggressive, and menacing. The works in his series capture intimate everyday moments of Black fathers with their children, from playing in the park to holding hands as they cross the street. Walker shows the positive images of Black men and Black masculinity that are often missing in the media.
You can follow him on Instagram @artistdwalker and visit his website (dareecejwalker.com)
As a mother of four daughters, much of Brown-David’s work focuses on the beauty, innocence, and joy
of Black childhood and growing up. Her daughters and their experiences are often the subject of her work. Brown-David aims to share new narratives of Black childhood, since they are often left out of mainstream culture. She beautifully captures Black youth and coming-of-age in America through painted portraits and scenes.
You can follow her on Instagram @adriennemeschelle and visit her website (adriennebrown-david.com)
Deener mainly paints and draws portraits of Black people to express his deep respect and love for them. The portraits feature the head of the subject with a long neck and leave out the rest of the body. This focus on faces highlights the beautyof his subjects and their emotional expressions.
Deener uses his art to express his own experiences and to uplift others. Most recently, his series of paintings titled ‘That Black Nose’ speak to the beauty of the Black nose and encourage Black people to embrace their noses.
You can follow him on Instagram @brandon_deener
Makeba is a collage artist who makes her works with hand-cut paper. Often incorporating elements of nature and femininity, her art is colorfully vibrant. The various aspects of her collages come together to express the many themes and ideas that inspire her work.
You can follow her on Instagram @ashantimakeba and buy her artwork on her Etsy shop.
DuBoise is a self-taught artist who primarily creates portraiture and landscapes that focus on Black women. She depicts the beauty of nature in the backgrounds of her portraits with bright skies, colorful flowers, and lush fields. While painting, DuBoise gives careful attention to the gaze of her subjects. In doing so, the portraits seize the beauty and vulnerability of each subject.
You can follow her on Instagram @sade.duboise.studio and visit her website (sadeduboisestudio.com)