Last year we saw the rise of prominent black artists in the music, tv, and film industries. People like Issa Rae and Donald Glover/Childish Gambino brought different black narratives to our screens. Ava Duvernay is taking on Hollywood with her work on Queen Sugar, her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, and continues to be vocal on the necessity of representation of people of color on the screen. Cardi B smash record Hip-hop billboard charts. With Marvel’s Black Panther carving its space in cinematic history, I believe we will continue to see more black artists taking center stage this year. For now, let’s explore other realms of the arts where black women are using their craft to create new narratives, discussion, and awareness of what it is like to be black in America.
1.) Latoya Ruby Frazier-
Photographer and writer Latoya Frazier creates stunning, emotional images that speak of the social injustices, inequality, and cultural shifts in America. As an advocate and activist, her documentarian work highlights what needs to be brought into society’s consciousness like her 2016 collection “Flint is Family”, where she documents one family’s struggle in a city facing a devastating water crisis. She also explores her own personal narratives. Her 14-year photo project turned book, The Notion of Family, examines her hometown’s racism and economic decline through intimate pictures of those closest to her. Earlier this year she held her first solo exhibition in New York City’s Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery. I think she is one important artist to keep a lookout this year. Be sure to view the rest of her profound imagery at latoyarubyfrazier.com
2.) Endia Beal-
Beal is a photographer based in North Carolina. Her photography focuses on narratives in marginalized communities, which has garnered much attention from the media. One of her collections entitled “Can I Touch it?” examines how women, primarily women of color, face difficulties in the corporate world by having middle-aged white women wear natural ethnic hairstyles. Beal’s on-going project makes viewers think about their personal stories when dealing with the corporate world and how they felt the need to change themselves, appearances included, to tit their work environments. We look forward to seeing what other thought-provoking work Beal does. Check out Endia Beal’s photography work at endiabeal.com.
3.) Sondra Perry –
Perry is a talented interdisciplinary artist who uses technology such as computer media and video to explore black femininity, history, family, and identity; how race and media intersect. Her abstract installations are worth checking out. Some of my favorites include Lineage of Multiple Workstation Station Number One, which Perry crafts a 26-minute two-channel video about her family, interspersed with graphics and music. Currently, she is having her solo exhibition, Sondra Perry: Typhoon Coming On, in London, England at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery from now until June 3 of this year. You can view Sondra Perry’s fantastic work at sondraperry.com