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These artists powerfully portray the Black American experience

Art has the power to evoke empathy and bring people together as a community, and in this time of protest and pandemic, positive creative influences are needed now more than ever.

Here are some artists who have taken to social media or other online outlets to express their artistic perspectives on current events or experiences of being black in America.


Italian artist Stratidiblu, real name Luigi Mallozzi, has recently created a striking portrait of George Floyd in the aftermath of his unfortunate death.

What started as a single piece of artwork has now spread across profile pictures, gone viral, and most recently, become the powerful face of a new line of merchandise.

This powerful piece portrays the silencing of Floyd, and arguably represents the suppression of many other voices of Americans affected by police brutality and violence, especially in the midst of recent protests.

The subject of the piece also reflects a recent trend on social media, where many artists have created their own portraits of George Floyd, to honor his memory and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Beyond the artwork’s popularity on social media, Stratidiblu has also created a series of merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, prints, and pins featuring the piece. These come as a part of a new artistic collaboration the artist has with The Gathering for Justice. 

The charity organization fights against youth incarceration, promotes activism towards reforming the justice system, and is, now, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Furthermore, all proceeds from sales go towards supporting Minnesota organizers aiding local communities.

Stratidiblu also has a multitude of other striking art pieces that comment on aspects of social justice, current events, mental health, and the human condition. From artworks representing feminist themes to the power of human emotions and love, Stratidiblu has an astounding array of thought-provoking and touching art.

Odera Igbokwe

Illustrator and painter Odera Igbokwe uses his beautifully made art to showcase the magic of the African diaspora, as well as the experiences of queer people of color.

His clever use of various hues also helps contribute to making a truly magical feel in his works. Igbokwe also incorporates aspects of fantasy and Afrofuturism to create mystical artworks that truly evoke a sense of wonder. 

This can be seen in particular in his illustration series known as “Dance of the Summoner,” which draws upon such elements to reclaim various aspects of African traditions and culture. It also draws attention to themes related to the African diaspora, queer people of color, and intersectionality.

The illustrator has also used his art to express anti-racist messages and promote support for members of the black community, specifically in regards to the emotions they are feeling, especially in this tumultuous time.


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We’ve got alot to be mad about. Ancestral rage is present day rage. We’ve got *alot* to be mad about.

A post shared by Odera Igbokwe (@odyism) on

Igbokwe’s art can be found on his Instagram, personal website, and Patreon, which is also the center of the “Dance of the Summoner” series.

Carlos Martiel

Cuban artist Carlos Martiel creates astounding visual pieces through the use of mediums such as forms of sculpture and 3D-art, or even photography with him as the main model of the artwork.

Many of his pieces focus on themes such as activism or immigration and often provide social commentary. Their commentary is enhanced by how Martiel often uses materials related to the work’s central theme.

He’ll use rocks and pieces of bricks and security fence spikes to form an American flag, a piece of his own dreadlocks to document the places he’s lived, a photo of him lying prone with an American flag piercing his skin.

These pieces and more tell a complex narrative about identity and society.

The artist has also recently taken to social media to protest police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement. From using his art to spread his message to showing photos of himself at protests and marches, Martiel’s artistic expressions are arguably another form of rebellion and a call to action in these times.

Carlos Martiel posts his artwork in addition to chronicling his activism on Instagram, as well as on his personal website.

King Kesia

A visual artist that combines traditional artwork, fashion, and photography to create a variety of beautiful and powerful pieces, King Kesia uses her art to portray inner self, personal beauty, and claim a proud self-image.

Furthermore, her artwork also focuses on black women and creates a compelling narrative about confidence and self-worth, which are arguably important attributes to hold on to in this time of unrest.

Kesia’s pieces both traditional and photographic use a unique diversity of form, as well as incorporating elements of African culture at times, to create a variety of inspiring and creative artwork with a sense of hidden strength. 


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I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness. Ossie Davis ✊🏿

A post shared by rudegal (@kingkesia) on

King Kesia’s works can be found on her Instagram, where she has also recently taken to using her art to show a sense of black pride and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. She also has a personal website where she sells her works.

Art in a time of protest and pandemic

In this time where uncertainty reigns and many people seem to be chaotically pulling in every direction, it is key to find a sense of stability and community. Witnessing the human experiences of others, much less being reminded of what makes us human, is an important first step in this process.

Art has the ability to evoke those essential human emotions and provide a lens into people’s experiences. It helps to touch the feelings of others and to create bonds with people. And both of those things are exactly what we need right now.