George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Police brutality has taken the lives of countless Black people across the country, inspiring a call for justice and accountability. As people flood the streets to protest, social media platforms are experiencing their own wave of artistic resistance.
With illustrations and mixed-media works, artists are sending a powerful statement: Black lives matter. Whether they’re raising awareness, amplifying unheard voices, educating others, or collecting donations for the Black Lives Matter movement, many in the art world are getting involved.
Behind the bold portraits and impactful messages, these artists are disrupting the status quo and standing up for the most marginalized in our communities. Even when creating Black Lives Matter art that involves tragedy, their work still centers the love, dignity, and freedom that the movement represents.
A Few Artists Leading The Black Lives Matter Movement
If you’ve been on Instagram lately, you may already be familiar with their work. These artists have used their designs as protest. While their art has been shared, the artists themselves aren’t always recognized. Here is a little background on who a few of these artists are and what their mission is.
Danielle Coke is an Atlanta-based illustrator using her designs to educate. She started sharing these educational graphics in September, but her work has had a recent resurgence. Some of the guides include, “Anatomy of an Ally,” “Reading the Signals (Allyship During Race Conversations),” and “Your Sphere of Influence.”
Ariel Sinah is a self-taught UI designer and illustrator based in Chicago. Her POC portraits demand justice for those who have been unfairly victimized, jailed, or killed. Among the many names are Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Riah Milton, and Dominique “Rem’mie.” She uses her art to highlight their stories and bring awareness to injustice.
Sacrée Frangine is a brand made up of two artists. Célia Amroune and Aline Kpade express themselves through minimalist compositions, focusing on the harmony of shapes and colors. One of their most shared works features the outlines of three Black faces, no features showing. The words “Black Lives Matter” are written on the middle man’s face. The caption reads, “Say it with your voice, say it with your chest, say it with your words, but say it.”
These artists are all examples of how creatives can join the movement and protests. While sharing their work will help spread awareness, be sure to give them, and any artist you repost, image credit.
Additional POC Artists to Get to Know
One of the many Black Lives Matter slogans is: “This is a movement, not a moment.” Supporting Black and POC artists is something you can do all the time—not just during the revolution.
Artists of color have long been overlooked and underrepresented in the art world. Not all artists are offered the same chances for exposure. Just by sharing their work, showing them love on social media, or buying their pieces, you can help uplift marginalized voices. Here are a few POC artists you should be paying attention to.
Aurélia is a Parisian artist whose art is a celebration of diversity. She is passionate about representation and her vibrant, colorful works “present the unified voice of a global community whose hopes, dreams, and desires present a future inclusive of all”. She has created augmented reality, animations, paintings, murals, and illustrations and her clients include Adobe, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Apple Music, Refinery 29, ESPN, Evian, and Adidas. She recently illustrated the New York Times best seller, “This Book is Anti-Racist.”
Donice Bloodworth Jr. is a full-time artist and illustrator who combines digital and traditional methods to create powerful portraits. His “Naturally” series began as a conversation about identity and embracing Black culture. He describes the portraits as “a celebration of people that need to be celebrated.”
Hasina is a civil law student, multidisciplinary artist, and community organizer. Originally from Burundi, East Africa and now living in Canada, Hasina made it her goal to capture the experiences of Black women that she never saw represented when she was growing up. Through public speaking, workshops, podcasts, mentoring, and more, she encourages young, Black artists to reclaim their narrative and asserts that their stories have value.
Geneva Bowers is a digital artist and illustrator from Western North Carolina. She grew up wanting to see more Black and POC women in fantasy and anime, so she developed the “HoverGirls” web-comic as her own take on the magical girl genre, with two Afro-Latina women as the main protagonists. More recently, she’s channeled her creativity to raise funds for The Bail Project, Black Visions Collective, Reclaim The Block, and North Star Health Collective.
Tabitha Bianca Brown figured, “If I can’t find art featuring Black women being happy, hip and full of life, I needed to make it myself.” Her style is a hybrid of ’70s soul funk, noir and minimalism. She has a BFA in Illustration from The American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois. Her artwork has been featured in Huffington Post, Design Milk, Decor8, Modish, and Afrolicious.
Rubii is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander from Melbourne, Australia. She combines photography, filmmaking, digital art, and activism to support her community, and is passionate about sharing their stories, struggles and achievements.
Art as Activism: Taking Action for Racial Justice
Whether it’s through Black Lives Matter art or artwork highlighting the POC experience, these artists prove that art and activism can go hand in hand.
Want to show your solidarity? A great way to support racial justice is to support the Black and POC artists that show up on your feed. Follow them, share their pieces, and use their work to inspire conversations about race in your day to day life.
This movement isn’t about just uplifting underrepresented artists. Through artistic engagement—creating art or consuming it—you can empower communities and create meaningful change in the world around you.