Their aim was to raise the profile of black artists and the Afro-Caribbean community through a series of sculptures, paintings and exhibitions. It was also an eye-opener for contemporary white artists as this political movement encouraged conversations on art reflecting culture and the state of how mainstream art did not include the experiences of the black population.
Author: Christabel Samuel
These works of art are an expression of activism against a system that is designed with such bias. Whilst it is true that not every police officer is racist, it is even truer that guilty parties do benefit from an inherently racist system. White supremacy, racism and oppression are still alive but art crosses the boundaries society tries to exclude others from.
Christabel Samuel on art of the #BlackLivesMatter movement
Perhaps this is the most relevant discourse for black audiences today who may feel distrustful towards white media for under and misrepresenting them, but also overwhelmed by the pressures and stereotypes of what it means to be black. Just as Cheryl found a role model in Fae, perhaps people of color can also find a role model in Cheryl. There is a lesson to be taken in her fun, cheeky, open-heartedness and the way in which she learns that ownership and identity is not just a matter of birth but also a case of discovering oneself and enjoying the process.
Christabel Samuel on the relevance of the 20 year old black movie The Watermelon Woman for black audiences today.
“My main sources of inspiration have come firstly from paintings. I admire painters like Rembrandt. Caravaggio and Jean-Michel Basquiat are my favourites. I am attracted to Caravaggio’s use of light and mood in some of his paintings. His paintings are very dramatic and therefore I like to take influence from his work.”