Black History Month; October 2023
What makes art so captivating is that it is just about to open anyone. Art supersedes race and class. It is a way for us to share our story, our thoughts and ideas through expression and creativity. We are able to experience the cultures of people we’ve never met or the beauty of places we’ve never been. Through the eyes of those who have chosen to share their art with us.
We are celebrating Black history month here at Scrawlrbox and we’ve decided to honour some of our favourite artists.
Although Jean-Michel had a short life, his impact on the art world is immeasurable. Everyone that knew him said that he had an enigmatic character that drew you in which is a similar feeling you get from his artwork. The more you look, the more there is to discover. Despite not having a formal art education, he never let this stop him from creating. His career took o in the 1980s during the Neo-Expressionism movement. He focused his work on the contrasts in wealth and the ever growing cultural scene of African Americans. I don't listen to what art critics say.
"I don't know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is”
British School Allegorical Painting of Two Ladies wearing Beauty Patches (c.1650s) by unknown artist
In the 1940s, a wildly unique painting was passed on by the late Baron Kenyon and it caused quite a stir because it depicted 2 women with mirrored hairstyles, expressions and clothing. Their only dierence was the colour of their skin, hair and dresses. Also their delicate looking beauty patches contrasted with their skin tones. Besides their colouring, they seem very equal. Above the ladies' heads can be seen the sentence "I black with white bespot you white with blacke this evil proceeds from thy proud heart then take her, Devill". This is thought to represent the beauty patches as Cromwell wanted to get them outlawed as he saw them as an unnecessary and ungodly cosmetic. The piece is believed to date from the mid-1600s. Sadly, the artist of this painting is unknown but historians and artists alike are fascinated by this piece for its sociological significance. Due to this the painting has been prohibited from selling or exporting overseas.
Bisa creates stunning tapestries that look like meticulously crafted paintings. She aims to tell stories with her quilts and is well known for her pieces paying homage to family and black history. Bisa’s artwork incorporates the vivid patterns of African patterns and textiles which creates an abstract piece. You really haven’t seen anything quite like it. She has made art of the late Chadwick Boseman, Harriet Tubman and other historical figures of colour.
Aaron was one of the most influential artists in the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance also known as the New Negro Movement was a reclamation of African culture. This movement centred around dance, storytelling and the visual arts. Aaron studied alongside Winold Reiss who was an established artist, his art work mainly featured African and Native Americans. He encouraged Douglass to look to his African ancestry for inspiration. Reiss also introduced him to the German art style of Scherenschnitt which is a type of papercutting craft. Aaron’s unique way of creating a layered eect on a canvas was influenced by Scherenschnit. Alongside his journey of self discovery and art, he was also a poignant leader of the Renaissance. Which is what makes him such an icon of art history.
attended Sacramento City College to hone his craft as an artist. Unfortunately, due to an accident, he was left legally blind with only the ability to see out of his peripherals. He did not let this stop him as he has developed a way of creating that works for him. Charles technique involves leaning in close to the canvas and using his fingers to make a free and exciting type of painting. He also has the biggest heart, he has won many awards for his volunteer work. He enjoys spending his time encouraging others to expand their creative ability despite their disability.
In the late 1900s the Ndebele and the Boers went to war. The Ndebele suered a loss and because of this, they were punished and their land was taken away by the Boers. The Ndebele would paint their houses to express their grief and sadness and this is what began a visual language as a way to communicate with each other. The Boar tribe thought it was just a harmless pastime but it was a silent visual resistance that allowed the Ndebele tribe to communicate. This tradition of painting one's house is still around today and is passed from mother to daughter as the matriarch of the family is charged with painting their house and fence. The crisper the straight lines and colour blocking, the better chances you have of marrying well. Dr. Esther Mahlangu of the Ndebele was the first of their tribe to take their unique art and put it on a canvas. She travels the world to exhibit her tribes art. Even at the age of 87 years, she still spreads the creativity of her people