5 Black Artist You Should Know

By 1605 Publishers
Art , Inspiration

More than any other time in history, the voices of Black artists need to be heard and their art and experiences have to be seen. Photography and cinema festivals, together with art institutions worldwide, recognise the incredible talent and the power of untold stories. Unfortunately, these pandemic years took from us some of the brightest minds of cinema, Chadwick Boseman and fashion, Virgil Abloh and André Leon Talley. It is impossible to put in one post all the brilliant and inspiring Black artists from the fields of photography, art, design, cinema and architecture, however, we have prepared the list of 5 Black artists that we honour and admire and would like to share it with you.

The focus of their photo projects, films and paintings is to expand the roles of the black body, celebrate black creativity and the cross-pollination between art, fashion, and culture. Enjoy!

Gordon Parks (he/him)

Gordon Parks (1912 – 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He also became a photojournalist from the 1940s until 1970s in the issues of civil rights, poverty and glamour photography.

Steve McQueen (he/him)

Steve McQueen (b. 1969) is a British film director, screenwriter, film producer, television writer, television producer, and television director. He is known for his award-winning film 12 Years a Slave (2013), an adaptation of Solomon Northup's 1853 slave narrative memoir.

5 Black Artists You Should Know

Above: Photographer Gordon Parks / Below: Filmmaker Steve McQueen and his iconic film "12 Year a Slave" (2013) that took 9 Oscars

Tyler Mitchell (he/him)

Tyler Mitchell (b. 1995) is American photographer and filmmaker working across many genres to explore and document a new aesthetic of Blackness. In 2018, he made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue for Beyoncé’s appearance in the September issue. The following year, a portrait from this series was acquired by The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for its permanent collection.

 

Amy Sherald (she/her)

Amy Sherald (b. 1973) is American artist who lives in New York. She received her MFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and BA in Painting from Clark-Atlanta University. Sherald’s work is held in public collections such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. to name but a few.

5 Black Artists You Should Know
Above: Tyler Mitchell / Below: Amy Sherald

 

Zanele Muholi (they/them)

 

Zanele Muholi is a South African visual activist and photographer. For over a decade they have documented black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s lives in various townships in South Africa. Responding to the continuing discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTI community. Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is "to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond."

In a more recent ongoing series, Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness), Muholi becomes both the participant and the image-maker, as they turn the camera on themself. Experimenting with different characters and archetypes, Muholi’s self portraits reference specific events in South Africa’s political history. Through exaggerating the darkness of their skin tone, Muholi reclaims their blackness, and offsets the culturally dominant images of black women in the media today.
5 Black Artists You Should Know

 

Zaneli Muhole, "Somnyama Ngonyama" (Hail the Dark Lioness)