8 Stunningly Magical Black Artists You MUST Check Out
June 9, 2020
As we said last week, we believe that stories can change the world.
So can art.
And so we want to share the work of these 8 extraordinary Black artists with you. From Disney-inspired photography to stop-motion animation to crystalline experimentations, these incredible creators pack enough wonder and beauty to make your heart burst.
Gabrielle Tesfaye – Tesfaye is a multimedia artist who works in everything from painting to puppetry, all with her own unique, gorgeous style. If you haven’t seen her short stop-motion animation film “The Water Will Carry Us Home,” which “tells the story of stolen Africans who are thrown off a slave ship whilst sailing through the Middle Passage” and the mermaids who “save their spirits,” we cannot recommend it highly enough.
Tyler Thrasher – Thrasher’s work, especially his crystallization experiments, is incredibly beautiful and otherworldly. His photography and drawings, especially his botanical drawings, are always stunning as well.
Kara Walker – Walker takes the very fairy-tale-like medium of the silhouette (think Lotte Reiniger and Arthur Rackham) and uses it to talk frankly about race and gender. Her pieces are not for the faint of heart, but they’re incredibly important. The Katastwóf Karavan is an excellent example of her powerful work.
Sumaiyah Jones – Jones’ work aims to explicitly open up the fairy and fairy-tale world to POC. Her colorful, expertly crafted paintings render Faerie as it should always be depicted – diverse and beautiful.
Sage Sovereign – Sage Sovereign is a performance artist, producer, musician, and visual artist who plays with spectacle and ritual to create AMAZING events. Known as “the Priestess of Pyromancy,” her work is stunningly original and mesmerizingly magical – the photographs are amazing, but we highly HIGHLY recommend you watch her videos!!
Kahran and Regis Bethencourt of CreativeSoul Photography – This husband and wife team produce some of the most magical photographs we’ve ever seen. We love their “Afro Art” series, which highlights the beauty of Black hair, but it’s their spot-on yet incredibly unique Disney-inspired “Princess” series, a collaboration with hairstylist LaChanda Gatson, that really captures our hearts (we think Elsa might be our favorite, but they’re all AMAZING.) Bonus: their book Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty is now available for preorder!
Muna Abdirahman – Abdirahman (known as @munadraws)’s illustrations are all gorgeous, but we obviously ADORE her fabulous witches the most! Merging typical Western witch imagery (i.e. moons and skulls) with gorgeous African-inspired accessories makes for an incredibly beautiful combination.
We’d love to hear about more magical Black artists this week, so please e-mail us or share your favorites in the comments!
P.S. Have you entered our awesome #BlackStoriesMatter Contest yet?? We’re giving away a prize pack of SIX must-read fantasy books by Black authors – Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder, A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, Brown Sugar Fairies: Saroja’s Quest by Aiysha Sinclair, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe, and A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown!
All you have to do to enter is make a post on your favorite social media platform talking about a book you’re excited to read by a Black author – any genre, any age group! Try to tag the writer if you can, hashtag it #blackstoriesmatter and #carterhaughschool so that we can be sure to find it to verify you posted, and then snap a screenshot and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Black Stories Matter Submission” – that’s it! You can enter as many times as you’d like, but only once per social media platform. Hurry though – the giveaway closes TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT!