Celebrating black creative excellence
October is Black History Month in the UK. In the almost 12 years that I lived there, I had the honour to meet so many fellow black creatives and this week, I wanted to celebrate just a handful of them.
I remember exhibiting at markets with Dorcas, both of us pretty early on in our journeys selling illustrated goods. She’s such a sweet soul and stands out in any crowd with her height and signature big hair. It’s been such a joy to watch her wonderful growth from afar!
Dorcas Magbadelo is the artist behind the brand DorcasCreates. She uses bold colours and patterns, taking many elements from her Nigerian heritage to create powerful and striking illustrations. The subject matter? She mostly captures Black womanhood and Black girl joy.
I interviewed Yinka, a whole 10 years ago, on this very blog! His star is majorly on the rise with prestigious commissions, collaborations and press, as well as an avid fan base!
Yinka Ilori is a London based multidisciplinary artist of a British-Nigerian heritage. He specialises in storytelling by fusing his British and Nigerian heritage to tell new stories in contemporary design. He’s known for using three dimensional design to tell traditional Nigerian parables, using up-cycled vintage furniture and incorporating African fabrics that he grew up with as a child.
He is such a joyful and pleasant guy and I’m so proud of what he’s achieved. With his huge public profile, he’s a great poster child for black creative excellence!
I’ve never actually met Lakwena Maciver in person but, I’ve long enjoyed her work. Concerned with messages, she is living up to her name which means ‘messenger of the chief,’ in the Ugandan language, Acholi.
She uses bright colour and bold typography to gently subvert ideas relating to decolonisation, redemption, escapism, afrofuturism, and utopia.
Her work has been shown, and graced walls and public spaces, in major cities around the world.
I can’t even remember when I first met Gabrielle. I’m so happy that we continue to connect, many many many years later. Gabi is a natural connector and a huge advocate for black creative excellence. She’s that person who will always selflessly share information, education and opportunities, in the interest of uplifting the community as a whole.
Gabrielle Smith is a British-Grenadian multidisciplinary Designer and Cultural Producer. Her work focuses on producing impactful visual approaches about the often overlooked stories, trends and movements led by historically marginalised communities that need more attention in the world-at-large. She currently works as a Designer for CNN International’s Visual News team.
She is also founder of the:nublk – a platform centred around creators from Africa, the Caribbean and their diasporas.
Gabi really demonstrates the power of creativity for activism and shows that it doesn’t only have to involve marching on the streets – power can also be performed in more subtle ways.
Tamu is a holistic life coach trained in somatic coaching, with a background in social work. She’s a writer, workshop facilitator, podcaster and Non-Linear Movement practitioner.
She’s passionate about supporting over-functioning, high achieving women cultivate emotional safety and self-trust. Enabling them to experience fulfilment – in life and work – without losing their edge.
When I first met Tamu, she was working as a social worker. She has an incredible spirit (and fabulous personal style)! Additionally, she’s big on bringing like-minded women together and it’s beautiful to see the evolution of her career and what she’s doing now.
Though her current coaching work may not be considered as being part of the creative industry, you know we’re all about wellness as the basis for everything. That’s why I wanted to include Tamu here. Plus, she’s a super creative person, period.
Which other UK-based black creatives should we be checking out and supporting?
Please share in the comments.