Black Lives Matter shares must-see contemporary art to celebrate Black History Month
In the future, black lives will thrive in communities built by them, in schools engineered for their success and in a society that lifts up black women. That's the hope of the artists and writers participating in "Black Futures Month," an annual campaign of the modern black liberation movement.
On each day in February, which also marks Black History Month, the Black Lives Matter Global Network will release a piece of art and an accompanying article in which the artist and writer imagine what the future of black life looks like around the world. The campaign takes on a special meaning in the wake of the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who poses a threat on safety, equality and liberty, organizers said.
"Of the many things we're compelled and encouraged to do first in the face of Trump's attacks on our basic rights and humanity, dreaming isn't necessarily one of them," Shanelle Matthews, spokeswoman for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said in a statement. "But in the face of unimaginable assaults on our futures, we absolutely cannot cede our ability to imagine for ourselves."
Matthews has described Black Futures Month as a "designated space to both meditate on [black] history, and equally as importantly, to imagine the building blocks of a society where we affirm our right to thrive."
Here are the first three installments of the series:
BLM released black French artist Mawena Yehouessi's piece on Wednesday. In a video description of her work, Yehousessi said she envisioned "future technology" as the theme of the piece.
"I came up with this gate, city temple, above which are two-headed women floating," she said. "I focus on architecture because architecture has always been a tool used to define the greatness of a civilization, a country or community. I wanted to challenge the dynamic of underestimating black architects."
Naomi N. Mover
Naomi Mover's piece — a collage of images centered around the themes of education, black criminalization and incarceration — was released Thursday with an essay by Ryan Smith, executive director of the educational advocacy group Education Trust-West. Smith wrote that cultivating black minds through quality education is non-negotiable in for a vibrant future.
"Despite some progress, the promise of a quality education for all black young people remains elusive," he wrote. "Whether in the schoolhouse or jailhouse, we can no longer tolerate the current pace of change."
The piece by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh features a black woman wearing a hoodie that bears the names of black women who died in police encounters. The woman is adorned with a necklace of clenched fists, which symbolically connotes resistance, protection and sanctuary. "Even though it is not the first time our communities have faced blatant and insidious levels of oppression, we have to make it our home again," Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a black feminist writer, wrote in the Huffington Post accompanying Fazlalizadeh's piece.
BLM will continue releasing art daily, through the remainder of the month, on the Huffington Post Black Voices blog.