Welcome to the newest gallery in JAC’s Gallery of the Month series, where we showcase a wide range of art and writing under unique monthly themes. Check back on the first of each month for a new collection of works by the talented artists in the JAC network. To view past galleries of the month, see our Gallery Archive.
“At its best, what art does, it points to who we as human beings are and what we as human beings value. And if Black Lives Matter, they deserve to be in paintings.” – Kehinde Wiley
Spaces of artistic exhibition and celebration have historically been dominated by white male artists, marginalizing a range of Black arts cultural productions. And as art making functions as a form of knowledge production and history making, this has also meant the marginalization of Black histories and perspectives. We must acknowledge the long history of Black arts and artists and the role they have had, and continue to have, in shaping the American cultural landscape. Because we must recognize the history of resistance, transcendence, and narration.
Black art then appears as a mode of reclaiming power, reclaiming space, and reclaiming identity and voice. We hope that as you view this month’s gallery, which shines the spotlight on the creative work of Black artists in JAC’s network, you appreciate the art and the power it holds to shift narratives and move us towards abolition.
Please fill out this form if you are interested in utilizing images from the galleries or portfolios for your own purposes. If you would like to connect with any of the featured artists, contact us. We ask that you do not utilize any of the artwork you see here without requesting permission to do so. We strongly believe that artists should have full agency over their work, so we do not share it with other entities without their consent.
“Warriors are poets and poems and all the loveliness here in the worlds” – Amiri Baraka
Where I’m From, by Antoney Drumond
“I am from canned foods
From sulfur and gasoline
I am from the creaks in the wooden
Floors brown and cracked, no amount
Of polish could fix me.
I am from the dandelions the wild
Whose untamed growth hides me from prying eyes.
I am from curry goat and dread locks.
From the tears of Audrey and anger of Toney
I am from the echoes of silence and
Shells of distance.
From cleanliness is Godliness, and boy don’t let me tell you again.
I’m from the Lord is my shepherd, the psalms that
Nurtures the soul.
I’m from the strength of Nanny, the Maroon warrior of
Black, green, and gold.
Ackee and saltfish with sweet fried plantain.
From the struggles my mom endured on her Journey
To migrate from the islands to ensure the
Growth of her seeds.”
Ebi ni mo fi okan
Here you lay down your heart, by Troy Glover
“What beauty is found in Prison
What music from bars do listen
Suffering is the sound
From the madness around
To quench Hope is T.D.C’s mission.
There’s a secret people don’t know
a sliver of light they won’t show
a seedling on the rise
fed by the tears and the cries
by the blood of our shame it grows.
This must stop all the guards do shout
take their smiles and change them to pouts
deprive, beat, or gas’em
with a case, club or lash’em
by our boots we must stump it out.
Desparately they keep us apart
but the songs of our souls passed start
though we’re chained to the ground
to the skies we are bound
though Here You Must Lay Down Your heart.”
Reparations for Blacks, by Derrick Grantley
Is black folk demand for reparations, really debatable?
Without Black slavery, there would be no America!
We were given no wages or respect for our labor,
Just lashes by crackers,
There whips across our backs
Against our wills, we were all forced unto a ship,
The ones who resisted, most likely, ended being killed
In chains and cuffs, bloody, and unjust,
We were crammed inside of a cage, like a wild animal
Those that died, were tossed into the sea,
No proper Burial’s, or goodbyes from friends and family
Brought into a foreign land,
Then sold on auction blocks,
Tobacco and food, was all a black life cost
Once on plantation’s, we were made to pick cotton,
Long days, short nights, it was completely exhausting Our Black Queens had it hard, they were stripped of their power,
Degraded, then Raped, it didn’t matter it they hollered
If by reason they were impregnated,
and gave birth to a baby,
By the time it could walk,
it too, would be forced into slavery
Spit on Beat on lynched and whipped,
deprived of education since we stepped off the ship
We were promised 40 acre’s and a mule for our service,
Without Black folk, you would have lost the civil war
But still we got nothing,
No mule, or land,
just smiles and lies,
common practice for white men
So, yes we scream,
and demand what’s due,
Reparations for Blacks,
is the right thing to do!
We hope you enjoy this month’s gallery: In Celebration of Black Artists