#BlackGirlMagic at Art Basel

#BlackGirlMagic at Art Basel

Art Basel in Miami Beach just ended, but I’m grateful that hashtags (#ArtBaselMiami2016) are forever. I spent my weekend scrolling, double tapping, and taking screenshots of the artwork of some of my favorite artists. 

It’s no secret that international art fairs like Basel cater to the uber wealthy one percent and mostly highlight white-male artists. Times seem to be changing. Then again it could be the way my hashtag-IG-friends are set up and my general love for all things Black and Brown. But let’s stay positive here and say that the art world is becoming more inclusive and supportive of Black and Brown artists.

Not only were more artists of color represented at Art Basel in Miami Beach this year than ever before, but also issues of race, gender, identity and justice were front and center. An impressive roster of men and women of color should be thanked for ensuring we didn’t have another #OscarSoWhite situation on our hands.

While I love me some Black men a la Marshall, Adams, Biggers, Lignon, Wiley, Basquiat and Bearden, I was checking for the #BlackGirlMagic at Art Basel in Miami.

#BlackGirlMagic at Art Basel in Miami Beach

Jack Shainman Gallery in NYC is probably one of my favorite galleries. Nina Chanel Abney is the newest addition to an already incredible roster of artists that include brilliant artists like Carrie Mae Weems, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The artwork of all of these women were exhibited this past weekend. 

 Nina Chanel Abney courtesy of  @seenbyjustine  

Nina Chanel Abney courtesy of @seenbyjustine 

 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (left) Toyin Ojih Odutola (center) Barkley L Hendricks (right) photo courtesy of  @obia_thethird

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (left) Toyin Ojih Odutola (center) Barkley L Hendricks (right) photo courtesy of @obia_thethird

Some more favorites: Mickalene Thomas and ruby onyinyechi amanze. Their styles couldn't be more different, but when it comes to art you can love what you love, no explanations needed. You're smacked lovingly in the face with Mickalene's colorful collage and assemblage work, and you are beckoned into outer-worldly parts by ruby. So so good. 

 MIckalene Thomas  @mickelenethomas

MIckalene Thomas @mickelenethomas

 ruby onyinyechi amaze via  The Root

ruby onyinyechi amaze via The Root

Perhaps my favorite find this week is Tony Gum. She is a gem. Voted the “Coolest Girl in Cape Town” by Vogue, Gum is a South African visual artist that effortlessly melds pop and history. She creates images that deconstruct prejudice and present a more “enabling vision of Africanity.” Specifically, she illustrates the African woman’s body as something to be desired and not pitied. Gum's photographic series - ‘Free Da Gum’ was just as much of a hit this past weekend at Art Basel in Miami Beach as it was two years ago when she created it. Oh, and did I mention she’s 21! If she's making this kind of magic now, we will need a new hashtag to capture the yet to be seen magic ten years from now. Someone get on that asap. Thanks.

 Tony Gum courtesy of  Christopher Moller Gallery

Tony Gum courtesy of Christopher Moller Gallery

And then the BLACKEST of all #BLACKGIRLMAGIC things happened--MS. LAURYN HILL SHOWED UP... AND SHE SANG... AT A FISH FRY! Thank you Kimberly Drew (@museummammy) for capturing my entire college years in one short Instagram video. 

Did you spot any #BlackGirlMagic at Art Basel in Miami Beach this past weekend? Do tell. 

in love and art,
christa david

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