Confession time, I’ll read anything by Shana Jackson so was always going to be drawn to her latest non-fiction book (even though I have little interest in art as a subject). Jackson has become one of my go-to authors when seeking out diverse reads that make all children, especially BAME children, feel recognised and their lives represented in the books that they read. I cannot stress enough that her books, including this one, should be in all libraries and classrooms. As we seek to diversify our bookshelves, Jackson’s books are an absolute must.
Throughout history, Black people have been treated unfairly and have been denied equal opportunities. Black artists have been marginalised and have failed to get the recognition that they deserve. But things are changing and the world needs to hear about Larry Achiampong, Kerry James Marshall, Magdalene Odundo, Faith Ringgold and others. Meet twenty-six Black artists, discover how their art shapes and shares their opinions of the world and be inspired to do the same…
Putting Black artists and their amazing works of art firmly in the spotlight, Black Artists Shaping the World is a brilliant introduction to twenty-six artists from Africa and of African descent who are doing their creative thing around the world. Rich, timely and refreshing, the celebration of the exciting and important work of Black artists offers up plenty of energised inspiration for children and adults alike. Written alongside Dr Zoé Whitley, Director of Chisenhale Gallery in London, Sharna Jackson declares it, ‘A celebration…It’s a party for the many Black artists around the globe.’
Across brightly coloured pages the artists are introduced, their stories are shared, their artistic styles explained, their inspirations explored and a piece of their work is showcased in all its glory. Highly accessible and with just enough information to pique readers curiosity and to have them googling their new favourite artists (a bibliography of websites will be a welcome starting point for many).
The collective of artists are as diverse as their works which are created in a range of mediums from painting to sculpture, photography to poetry, embroidery to ceramics, sound art to installation art. Art not being one of my strong points, I was unfamiliar with most of the names but I was mightily impressed with the assembled cast that includes: Amy Sherald, the portraitist for Michelle Obama; El Anatsui, expert in turning discarded bottle tops into wall hangings; sound artist Emeka Ogboh who captures the sounds of the streets of Lagos; South African ceramicist Zizpho Poswa; and British Turner Prize-winning painters Lubaina Himid and Chris Ofili. Readers will not be disappointed with the creativity represented here.
Captivating and eye-opening from start to finish, Black artists and their works are well and truly alive within these pages of contemporary art. Produced in hardback and on thick paper, the beautifully designed anthology would enhance any primary school art curriculum and is the perfect gift for any budding young artist.
Recommended for 9+.