In her 1985 essay,
Poetry Is Not A Luxury, writer and Black activist Audre Lorde calls creative writing and making art a "vital necessity of our existence." She describes capitalism as a linear power that thrives on dehumanization and suppressing creativity and emotions in the name of production and profits. In a world dominated by structures of white patriarchy and capitalism, Lorde attests that writing poetry and making art isn't just self-expression, but a means of survival and revolution. Making art helps you articulate your ideas and turns your emotions into tangible actions that work outside of capitalism and other oppressive structures.
Nearly a month after the killing of
George Floyd, 46, when a Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for almost 9 minutes, protests about systemic racism and police brutality continue across the globe. According to The New York Times, there have been protests in at least 2,000 U.S. cities in all 50 states. On June 14, thousands of people created a human chain as a "ribbon of solidarity" to protest racial injustice in Berlin. That same day, 3,500 protestors rallied in Tokyo to stand with Black Lives Matter, and to condemn racism in Japan. The day prior, 15,000 people marched in Paris to protest police brutality and to seek justice for Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old French Black man who was killed in police custody in 2016.
While many of these protests are happening in the streets, there are myriad Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) artists and designers who are leading the revolution using their creativity and intuition.
Here are 40 BIPOC artists creating revolutionary work to follow on Instagram and to support in real life, too.
Annika Hansteen-Izora (annika.izora)
Annika Hansteen-Izora is a Black queer, non-binary art director, poet, and designer based in Brooklyn. Recently they've been making incredibly comprehensive infographics and lists of tangible ways to support Black artists and organizations.
M, founder of
Emulsify and Emulsify Design, is a queer, POC, artist, healer, and full-spectrum doula, living in Brooklyn. They make beautifully vivid and empowering graphics, paintings, and digital illustrations centering on liberation for queer people of color.
Laci Jordan (solacilike)
Laci Jordan is a Black artist and creative director from Huntsville, Alabama, currently living in Los Angeles. She creates vivid digital illustrations centering on Black women to create more representation for Black women in fashion and the arts.
Avery Williamson (aisforavery)
Avery Williamson is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in weaving, photography, and drawing. She makes weavings, paintings, collages, and other mixed-media art focusing on experimentation, play, and exploring the narratives of Black women.
Wildlogic By Edinah (wildlogic)
Edinah is a visual designer, artist, and the creator of Wildlogic, a multi-disciplinary design space aimed to empower, inspire, and encourage people making a socially positive impact. Edinah makes digital collages and colorful graphic art inspiring people to explore new and revolutionary ideas.
Sophia Yeshi (yeshidesigns)
Sophia Yeshi is a queer Black and South Asian illustrator, designer, and creator of Yeshi Designs. She makes digital illustrations and portratis and as well as word art centering on Black women, women of color, and the LGBTQ community.
Kgabo Mametja (iamsaintrose)
Kgabo Mametja is a South African illustrator and graphic designer. She makes colorful portraits of women of color and illustrations about body positivity, mental health, and narratives of Black womanhood. KaCeyKal!, is a Black contemporary artist, illustrator, animator, and painter based in Detroit. He creates beautiful portraits of Black women and colorful abstract figure paintings.
Shema Love (shema.love)
Shema Love is a visual artist, designer, registered nurse, and creator of Shema Love Designs. She creates multimedia portraits and art pieces often celebrating Black culture and Black women. Kah Yangni is a Black, non-binary, illustrator, and muralist living in Philadelphia, PA. They make multimedia art and colorful murals about justice, queerness, femme life, and joy. Anthony is a Black, queer, femme artist and designer. Anthony makes colorful illustrations and portraits of Black women and femmes and Black renditions of famous cartoons and animations.
Robin Hilkey (robinxhilkey)
Robin Hilkey is a Chinese American illustrator and designer for Color of Change, a racial justice organization focused on uplifting Black people. Recently, she's been illustrating portraits of Black people who were killed by the police.
Fiveboi/Vanessa Newman (fiveboi)
Fiveboi/Vanessa Newman is a Black, queer, non-binary, creative strategist, multidisciplinary producer, and designer, and writer based in Brooklyn. They create digital media focusing on uplifting Black artists and recently started Design To Divest, a group that makes free fliers, graphics, and educational material for Black organizations. Shai is an activist, cultural archivist, photographer, and organizer of Diaspora Radicalx, a digital archive of the Caribbean diaspora. She creates infographics and word art aimed to make political education more accessible, dismantle Eurocentric beauty standards, and uplift POC.
Shirien Damra (shirien.creates)
Shirien Damra is a Palestinian American designer and illustrator that's passionate about social justice and healing. She makes colorful digital portraits and word art about victims of police brutality and other social causes.
Ariel Sinha (arielsinhaha)
Carmelle Kendall (carmelle.creates)
Carmelle Kendall is an art director, designer, and illustrator born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She creates colorful digital portraits and word art about Black Lives Matter. She is the co-owner of Neighborly Paper, a Black-owned stationary company.
Lo Harris (loharris_art)
Lo Harris is an illustrator and animator based in New York City. She often depicts Black women and women of color in colorful and joyous ways, celebrating of self-love, self-compassion, and sisterhood. Ashton Attzs is a queer, Black, non-binary London based-artist. They make bold, joyful, art, full of colors, figures, and words, that empowers and educates their viewers on anti-racism and queer liberation.
Felicia is a queer Black artist and community organizer from Philadelphia. She is the founder of Two Minds Press, a queer women of color-run silkscreen press. She makes shirts, tote bags, patches, and other printed material and her graphics are often about inclusion, community building, and emotional resiliency.
Linnet Panashe Rubaya (cigherette)
Linnet Panashe Rubaya is a Leeds-based artist. She makes colorful paintings and black and white drawings about modern Black narratives and stories of Black African descendants.
Giselle Matz (thestudio.g)
Giselle Matz is a Latinx illustrator and founder of The Studio G. She makes colorful digital portraits and word art about POC, self love, and community.
Lauren Pierce (aurenpierce_designs)
Lauren Mckenzie-Noel is a Cleveland-based artist that creates works about being both Black and white. She makes vivid abstract drawings using a blend of mediums like paint and pastels, photorealist portraits, charcoal figure drawings, ceramics, woodcuts, and murals. Stat (aka Teddy Phillips), is a Black, Seattle-based artist originally from Montgomery. He creates digital portraits of famous Black people as well as Black people who have been killed by the police. He makes colorful digital art and graphics.
Devon Blow (devthepineapple)
Devon Blow is a Black illustrator and graphic designer from Los Angeles. She is founder of the iconic Purple Pineapple Co and # hoopsgang, a platform to inspire and empower women and trans people from marginalized communities. She makes vibrant digital portraits, word art, and works about pop culture.
Nikkolas Smith (nikkolas_smith)
Nikkolas Smith is a concept artist, children's book author, and film illustrator based in Los Angeles. He makes paintings, drawings, murals, and animations.
Abelle Hayford (abellehayford)
Abelle Hayford is a Ghanaian American illustrator, character designer, and color stylist. They are the organizer of the social media movement, #DrawingWhileBlack, which showcases Black artists around the globe. They make colorful cartoons, animations, and digital illustrations.
Sharee Miller (coilyandcute)
Ciara LeRoy (prettystrangedesign)
Ciara LeRoy is a Kentucky-based multi-disciplinary handicraft artist and designer specializing in lettering, embroidery, and fashion. She runs the Pretty Strange Design Shop. She makes colorful and political embroidered word art and graphic embroidery work.
Antoinette Thomas (theantoinettethomas)
Antoinette Thomas is a Brooklyn-based artist, illustrator, painter, and Wood Burner. She primarily creates mixed-media portraits of Black people, using paint and wood burning for texture. She makes cartoons and graphic pieces about Black experiences, portraits, and word art.
Ment Nelson (@mentnelson)
Ment Nelson is a first-generation artist raised in South Caroline and current living in the rural American south. He makes paintings with ink and water color of both everyday scenes, Black history, and portraits of people in pop culture.
Danielle Coke (ohhappydani)
Danielle Coke, is an Atlanta-based illustrator and activist that creates infographics and illustrations about Black history, racial injustice, and allyship. She makes colorful and straightforward infographics and illustrations often with tangible actions about anti-racism.
Mithsuca Berry (mythsooka)
Mithsuca Berry is a Black, Boston-based artist and activist. They recently published, a collection of their artworks created between 2017-2019. They make colorful, abstract figure paintings, digital illustrations, and portraits. Over the Rainbow,
Adrian Armstrong (adrianarmstrongart)
Adrian Armstrong or NjUNe, is an artist and organizer, and co-founder and creative director of Brown State of Mind, a multidisciplinary platform showcasing artists of color. He makes mixed-media art, photorealist drawings and portraits of Black people, and screen prints. Melissa Koby is a Tampa-based self-taught artist. She makes digital illustrations of women of color, Black women, and images of sisterhood and community.
Andrea Ballo (cocomicheleillustrations)
Andrea Ballo, the founder of
Coco Michele Illustrations, creates Black art, stationery, fashion illustrations, and more. She makes digital portraits portraits of Black women and families and word art.
Queenbe Monyei (queenbemonyei)
Queenbe Monyei, is a self-taught illustrator, digital artist, animator, and author of children's books. She design patterns and animations as well as colorful abstract digital portraits and word art. Qew is an illustrator from Eswatini, currently based in Joz Vegas, South Africa. She makes vibrant abstract digital illustrations and figure drawings of Black women, mixed-media portraits, and animations.
Reyna Noriega (reynanoriega_)
Reyna Noriega is an Afro Latina author, educator, and visual artist. She makes colorful paintings, murals, and digital illustrations of Black women and women of color. Asanni is a rapper, artist, and organizer. They're on the board for Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, and the founder of FOR THE GWORLS, a community organization that raises money to assist with Black trans folks’ medical needs and living expenses. They rap, model, and plan community events.