While Black History Month is a great time to celebrate the talent and work Black Americans have contributed to our country. It is also a month (like many honorary months) that shines light on the progress that must still be made.
Creativity has no race, no gender, no religion. But it does have the capacity to tell powerful stories to create connection, understanding and progress. Creativity can challenge the mainstream and create discourse across divides. It can also create common ground or empathy for experiences we have not lived.
It is through the creative output of Black Americans that we continue to grow as a country, transcending boundaries and building understanding. Each year, February is a retrospective of the steps we have made towards progress and a celebration of the Black creatives who have transformed our country and our culture.
Here are 6 Black creatives we’re loving right now. If you don’t already, go follow their work.
A visual artist and author hailing from Miami, Florida, Reyna Noriega’s creative output spans across mediums. From her own life experiences Noriega has found introspective, reflection and healing through art. Through her art, she hopes to do the same for others. Her work focuses on representing women of color and sharing the stories of WOC finding a path to their most authentic selves.
As a self-taught artist and photographer, who began shooting in 2017, Alexis Hunley’s work captivates well beyond her experience. Full of emotion, color and depth, her photographic style takes viewers on a profound journey through her own experience. According to Hunley, her love for science and art has propelled her to create interplay in her work and explore vulnerability and authenticity.
Karston “Skinny” Tannis
Karston Tannis, better known as “Skinny” is a self taught portrait photographer from Brooklyn, New York. He is an environmental lifestyle and fashion photographer, who draws inspiration from his surroundings to tell authentic stories. As an original member of Pursuit of Portraits, a community of creators focused on progressing culture through the power of storytelling, he is not only an artist but a community builder.
Born in Stockton, California, raised in Atlanta and now based in New York, Kara Walker is a contemporary painter, sculptor, illustrator, print-maker and professor. Both through her creative work and her teaching, Walker explores the connection between race, gender, sexuality, identity and violence. Known for her artist skill across mediums, Walker’s most recognizable work is large-scale tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes.
Conceptual artist, Adam Pendleton is known for his multi-disciplinary work, spanning across painting, silkscreen, collage, video, performance and word art. Pendleton’s use of historical text and imagery to re-contextualize and shed light on underrepresented narratives is what captivates viewers of his work. Pulling inspiration from modern art movements including Dada, Minimalism and Conceptualism, his work gives new perspective to voices that have historically been unheard.