I can not tell you what it feels like to be a Black woman artist. However, as a Black man who is a professional artist I can tell you about the pains and kicks that come with this industry.
We live in a culture that supports Black artists mainly when we do not need it. Once we are professionally airborne and in the right museums - cherished by celebrities and million dollar commissions are falling from the sky, here comes the “support” from our public.
Meanwhile our unrecognized Black women artists continue to be dedicated to their craft, toiling away in obscurity for years. Decade after decade these women are hoping to have their work seen, monetized and respected by the “right” eyes.
The “right” eyes for Black women artists tend to belong to those who have the financial means to elevate them while unethically exploiting them all in the same lift. Year after year of hand claps and face slaps our Black women artists continue to add beauty and balance to our lives.
What else should these women do? They have already moved mountains to create the work for us. What else should these women do? Seriously.
I have been an Advocate for artists for decades, not because I wanted to become one. These steps were motivated by my need to have artists respected as the educated and skilled professionals that we are. We earned the right to be seen and paid as professional artists, but sadly our community did not get the same memo.
Yet when the “right” eyes see us, we are ushered out of our communities and into territories governed by those who do not look like us. Those with the “right” eyes tend to make these Black women Art celebrities and aliens within our own communities.
The Black PowHER! Exhibition is just a start of what these women have to offer. Too often our culture believes that great Black Art can be created without great Black support. That is like expecting a well-intentioned driver to be able to get across the country without the needed vehicle and gas.
These Black women within our latest exhibition are simply amazing. They deserve your attention and your support, this is OUR responsibility. At some point we must stop complaining about not having access to the tools needed to build a healthy Black community. These Black women are doing their part, are you willing to meet them where they are?
If you are unclear about what you can do please contact us now and we will provide a list of options. Support is not an idea or an empty conversation, support is a verb.
Our Black women artists deserve our full support.
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Okeeba Jubalo Fine Art Gallery
Founder & Gallery Director