• Amy Hunter

The best creative to come out of the BLM movement

When lockdown first began you couldn’t move for articles about the best creativity to come out of lockdown. Well, we want to do the same for the Black Lives Matter protests. The unnecessary deaths of so many individuals, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and thousands of others have created an outpour of emotions. Some people have turned this emotion into incredibly powerful artistic and political statements.

Reyna Noriega

Reyna Noriega, the 26-year-old Afro Latina author, educator, and visual artist, states on her website that ‘Creativity is a superpower. Use it, change the world,’ and this is certainly true of her work. The Black Lives Matter Protests inspired her to create dynamic art. Her most powerful illustrations (below) highlight the two different sides of one situation by showing the way that the black community is often treated online and in person. Another powerful piece focuses on the lack of black photographers used in publications like Vogue and how esteemed editor Anna Wintour treated black individuals. Reyna continues to create compelling and powerful illustrations that centre around the black community.

To support Reyna by buying some art, click here.

Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi is a data journalist and writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian and The New Yorker. She has also written for radio and television including, Is Britain Racist (BBC), The Frankie Boyle Show (BBC) and The Fix (Netflix). But she is also a very talented illustrator, and her work has been exhibited in the Tate and The Design Museum.

Following on from the Black Lives Matter movement, Chalabi’s work has gone viral all over Instagram after she combined an informative and statistical approach with pretty aesthetics. Her illustrations have covered everything from Edward Colston, the number of black-owned businesses that have gone under as a result of COVID, and numerous posts about the relationship between the police brutality and the wider community. Chalabi, who now lives in America, was brought up in London, so has a perspective of racism on either side of the pond.

To support Mona by buying some of her products, click here.

Greg Bunbury

Greg Bunbury is a Graphic Designer who, over the last couple of years, has worked very closely with the British Black Lives Matter movement. In 2014 following on from the murder of Eric Garner (who similarly to George Floyd, was killed after a police officer put him in a chokehold for so long that he was unable to breath), Bunbury designed a poster in tribute to Garner. The poster shows the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times and on the twelfth, the words fade into the background. This was based on the treatment of Garner, who stated that he couldn’t breathe 11 times and on twelfth attempt, he died.

Bunbury brought the poster back in light of the recent circumstances and had the design, this time just the final line, put onto billboards in London.

Adrian Brandon

Adrian Brandon, based in Brooklyn, has created an incredibly powerful collection of art. On his website, Brandon says ‘My goal is to create art that creates an understanding of Black culture, Black love and Black pain so that we can move forward together’.

On his Instagram, he has launched the #StolenSeriesByAB collection. Each image in the collective is of a person who has had their life robbed from them by the police. Brandon creates the work by colouring for 1 minute of each year that they lived. By doing this Brandon is emphasising the empty spaces that these murders have created. He states ‘The emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will forever be stuck with the question “who were they becoming.”’ The collection started in February 2019 and featured 28 individual who had been murdered by the police. The last of the original images focus on Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old girl who was sleeping on her grandmother's couch when police conducted a home raid where one of the offices shot and killed Aiyana. The officer was never charged. To create this powerful image Brandon coloured for just 7 minutes, the empty spaces emphasising all the potential the Aiyana had to offer the world. Brandon stopped the collection after this image, but in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, he has continued again.

To support Adrian by buying his work, click here.

Nikkolas Smith

Nikkolas Smith has worked on numerous children’s book and on illustrations for films and TV, including Black Panther, Beale Street and Dear White People. His work often focuses on ‘creating art that can spark important conversations in today's world and inspire meaningful change’.

Following on from the Black Lives Matter protests, Smith has created a series of moving illustrations that focus on the injustice of the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDale, Dominique Fells and Riah Milton. In his work, he takes inspiration from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) flag which hung outside their headquarters in New York from 1920 until 1938. The flag stated ‘A man was lynched yesterday,’ as a way of making the people of New York aware that this was happening all the time. The sign was brought back in 2016, this time stating ‘A man was lynched by the police yesterday.’ Smith has chosen to repurpose these incredibly powerful messages in his art.

To support Nikkolas, click here.