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The New Black Aesthetic - Part I

No Weapon Formed…

When I was studying theology in the early 1980’s, I was taking a class on New Testament theology that required studying materials from historians and apologists of the time. One classic statement stood out to me. Attributed to Tertillian, it reads "Plures efficimur, quotiens metimur a vobis: semen est sanguis Christianorum."

Translated into English, it reads “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.”

While many may not connect with the philosophical or historical accuracy of Tertillian’s statement, I suggest that this modern application may find more adherents.

“White oppression stimulates the seed of black expression.”

Of course, Black artists were expressing their artistry long before white slave traders broached Africa’s shores. From pyramids to temples to ornate carvings, Black artistic expression has always foreshadowed all other forms of cultural oppression.

How could it not?

All human life traces itself back to Africa.

But, there is something new going on now.

There is a new wave of bold and unapologetically Black artists making their voices heard.

These artists are unconstrained in their determination to reflect their uncut, unadulterated Black experience.

These new artists are unconcerned about making their work palatable to white audiences.

These new artists refuse to be creative water bearers for those who only believe a Black artist is important when white collectors, curators, and gallerists say they are.