In celebration of Black History Month, the Commonpoint Queens Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Community Engagement and Advocacy Committee has compiled a list of Black art and artists, both local and national, whose work has had a significant impact on our society.
A new artist or piece of art will be featured several times each week, with the goal of introducing some new and profound – mixed with some classics – works of art to our greater community.
February 1st, 2021
We begin by sharing a feature from the New York Times: Nine Black Artists and Cultural Leaders on Seeing and Being Seen (click to read).
“Throughout this country’s history, black Americans have been reminded near daily that this remains true — both literally and more obliquely. In creative fields, for instance, from the visual arts to theater, the white gaze has long determined whose stories are told — what gets to be seen, what’s given value and what’s deemed worthy enough to be recorded and remembered — enforcing a seemingly immovable standard by which black artists and other artists of color are nearly always cast in supporting roles to the mostly white stars of the Western canon.
Today, though, many black artists are actively resisting that idea, creating work that speaks directly to a black audience, a black gaze, in order to reform the often whitewashed realms in which they practice. We talked with nine of them — each a voice of this moment, as the nation reckons with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, and beyond — about making work that captures the richness and variety of black life. Whether it’s the artist Tschabalala Self discussing the fraught experience of seeing her paintings be sold, like her ancestors, at auction or the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael R. Jackson searching for his characters’ interiority, their perspectives distill what it means (and what it has meant) to be black in America.”