Healing Arts: In Troubled Times, Artists & Galleries to Support

There is so much happening inside of me as I question everything in the wake of this election’s results, myself and my work included. I’ve been letting the anger that comes fuel my productivity into asking those questions, researching answers and writing out an action plan. I’ve been using the grief that swallows me up to focus on taking care of myself as I process all I’m experiencing. There are so many unknowns ahead but what I do know is that I have my art, and I can use it in the service of others. I know I can use it as a way to keep speaking out, keep disrupting, keep connecting these issues to people in a way that pierces through their defenses.

I have art. It has been what’s held me this week and steadied my resolve to keep fighting and standing up against hate. So I thought I’d share with you a list of the artists I personally follow and am inspired by on a daily basis. Their work challenges and informs my own as each of them use art to speak to the times in their own ways. Or as Nina Simone has said, “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”

You may have heard of some of these artists before, others probably not. I’ve also included galleries and collaboratives of artists working together for social justice and visibility for women, the LBGTQ community and people of color.

But first, a few quotes to inspire:

“I want to remind us all that art is dangerous. I want to remind you of the history of artists who have been murdered, slaughtered, imprisoned, chopped up, refused entrance. The history of art, whether it’s in music or written or what have you, has always been bloody because dictators and people in office and people who want to control and deceive know exactly the people who will disturb their plans… And it’s something that society has to protect. When you enter that field, no matter where you enter… it’s a dangerous pursuit. Somebody’s out to get you. You have to know it before you start, and do it under those circumstances, because it is one of the most important things that human beings do. That’s what we do.” (Toni Morrison)

“I think part of that is we’re just scared of the work. It’s gonna be a lot of work. It’s gonna be a lot of really, really hard work. And we might not win. And yet we have to commit ourselves to the struggle, because it’s nothing else besides struggle. There is no laying down and giving up.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” (Toni Morrison) 

18 Artists to Follow & Support

  1. Makoto Fujimura (paint/writing)  His books Refractions and Culture Care were key in helping me realize I want my art to be in service of others and about *something* meaningful.  www.makotofujimura.com
  2. Babneet Lakesar (paint/textiles) bakwaasbybabbu.com
  3. Amira Rahim (paint/home decor) Instagram (IG): @amirarahimart
  4. Christa David (paint/mixed media) IG: @christadavid.art
  5. Alisha Sommer (photography/writing) IG: @alisha_sommer
  6. Hate Copy (illustration) IG: @hatecopy
  7. Isabel Abbott (photography/writing) IG: @isabel_abbott
  8. Kimberly Drew, social media manager for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. blackcontemporaryart.tumblr.com IG: @museum mammy
  9. Kesha Bruce  www.keshabruce.com on IG: keshabruce
  10. Karen Walrond (photography/writing): chookooloonks.com
  11. David Anthony Geary (paint/photography) davidanthonyart.com
  12. Rupi Kaur (poetry) IG:  @rupikaur_
  13. Titus Kaphar (paint/mixed media/sculpture): kapharstudio.com/
  14. Leslie Fandrich (mixed media/paint): lesliefandrich.com
  15. toyin ojih odutola (paint): toyinojihodutola.com
  16. Matt Best (paint): IG: @matthewjbest/
  17. Tina Francis Mutungu (photography): IG: @teenbug
Artwork by A’Driane Nieves. (Photo courtesy: A’Driane Nieves)

Collaboratives/Galleries to Support

  1. For Freedoms (As the first artist-run super PAC, For Freedoms uses art to inspire deeper political engagement for citizens who want to have a greater impact on the American political landscape.) IG: @forfreedoms
  2. AWAKEN Collaborative: Facebook: awakencollaborative
  3. Jack Shainman Gallery (gallery in NYC): jackshainman.com
  4. Betti Ono Gallery (gallery in Oakland facing displacement): bettiono.com
  5. Black Women Artists for Black Lives: IG: @bwaforblm
  6. Art Hoe Collective (created by Amandla Stenberg) “The art hoe movement was started by QPOC to provide a space for all creatives of color. This is for us by us.”: IG:  @arthoecollective

Motivating Reads to Remind Us Why Art Matters

And Just a Couple of Great Newsletters

  • The Feminist Parent, by Pooja Makhijani The Feminist Parent is a free, bi-monthly e-newsletter featuring links to original essays and child-rearing resources rooted in the feminist ideals of respect, equality, and social justice. (A feminist parent is any person who takes responsibility for the care of a child and self identifies as a feminist. A feminist family is not bound by sex, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or biological relationship.)”: https://tinyletter.com/TheFeministParent
  • With Love & Squalor, by Esme Weijun Wang  “For Ambitious People with Limitations” (she also has a book called The Border of Paradise)

Artist A’Driane Nieves. (Photo courtesy A’Driane Nieves)

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