BLACKNESS & ART
Identity in the Age of Social Revolution
ONLINE EVENT CO-HOSTED BY NEVER APART
Artists with melanin have often been forced to consider the question "are you a black artist or are you an artist who is black?” Black artists, and Black people in general, are often held to a higher standard than their white counterparts. In 2021, even as galleries, collectors, and white audiences are selling, buying, and looking at more Black art than ever before, there are still a number of barriers for Black artists. Join Artists Mel D. Cole, Destiny Belgrave and curator Hannah Traoré, to explore how our current social climate has affected the ways that artists and creatives think about their race in relation to their work.
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On behalf of Keesha Chung, Mouna Traoré, Collective Culture, and Never Apart MTL, we want to thank everyone that attended, donated, and supported Blackness & Art! We were able to raise $1028 for Across Boundaries! We could no have done it without you!
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Destiny Belgrave (b.1996) was born and raised in Brooklyn NY and nurtured, with a Bajan and African American upbringing. Belgrave graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2018 with a BFA in General Fine Arts, and a concentration in Painting. Since then her work has been shown locally and internationally. Currently she is an A.I.R Gallery Fellow and a resident of the BRIClab: Contemporary Art Residency. Belgrave is a mixed media whirlwind, almost always using papercuts as her primary medium and family as a source of inspiration.
Mel D Cole is an NYC based, Syracuse NY raised, self taught photographer; he is one of Hip Hop's most accomplished and celebrated photographers with a career spanning almost 20 years. He released his first book called GREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop in February 2020.
Great includes both behind the scenes and live concert shots of Hip Hop and R&B superstars such as Kanye West, Drake, Sade, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Erykah Badu, Common, Tyler the Creator, Pharrell, Trey Songz, Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Mos Def, Mac Miller, The Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, and much more. An extraordinary visual history of Hip Hop and its evolution through Mel D. Cole’s lens, GREAT is a one-of-a-kind coffee table book for hip hop lovers, collectors and lovers of photography. The foreword was penned by Questlove.
Since music has all but dried up when oviduct hit, Mel focused his lens on documenting the pandemic. But when George Floyd was killed he dedicated himself to documenting the Black Lives Matter uprising which has led him to documenting supporters of Donald Trump, Trump himself and other political stories.
Born and raised in Toronto, Hannah Traoré developed an affinity for art at home. Hannah’s mother, an art collector and fiber artist, filled their family home with West African art. Hannah’s father, who immigrated from Mali at 24 years old, filled their family home with Malian family members and introduced Hannah to questions of representation in the art world and beyond.
These early life experiences led Hannah to study Art History at Skidmore College. It was at Skidmore’s museum, the Tang, where she curated her first exhibition entitled, Africa Pop Studio inspired by her West African identity. After spending a year in Toronto and co-curating an exhibit on W.E.B. Du Bois’ “double consciousness” in partnership with Wedge Curatorial Projects, Hannah moved to New York City to become the Painting and Sculpture Curatorial Intern at the Museum of Modern Art. After the internship, Hannah worked as the Installation Coordinator at Fotografiska, NY. Now, Hannah is a project manager to NYU professor and independent curator Isolde Brielmair. Hannah is also a curator at Oarbt, a digital exhibition space aiming to disrupt the contemporary art market by bringing together the global art community through immersive technology. Hannah is also working on actualizing her own brick and mortar gallery space. Through understanding her eclectic heritage- half white, half black, half Canadian, half Malian, half Jewish, half Muslim- Hannah has developed a keen sense of what it means to take pride in one’s differences. Hannah’s work aims to celebrate these differences.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR