To showcase one’s art means to open yourself up to interpretation and critique from others. It is a truly vulnerable act that can often be taken for granted. These seven artists bare their souls through artistry and we think you should get to know their work if you don’t already.

Yagazie Emezi

A native from Aba, Nigeria, Yagazie is a documentary photographer capturing timeless moments of people in Nigeria and various African communities. Her visual storytelling leaves behind eagerness and curiosity but mostly realization and understanding of her people, her community, and a poignant representation of Africa. One of her significant projects consists of her exploration on trauma survivors left with significant scarring and how they embrace and grapple with their new bodies. Most importantly, this collection shares the endurance of people, of her African people, and their journey of self-acceptance.

You can find her work here: yagazieemezi.com

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Ijeoma, born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, finds her transparency through poems and prose. Her book Questions for Ada, showcases her vulnerability and depth as she writes about pain, passion, and the beauty that love can have on us. As she writes from her own pain, vices, and insecurities, she shares her strength, power, and womanhood, relaying reiterations of patience and self-love for all who read and resonate with her words.

“So, here you are

too foreign for home,

too foreign for here.

Never enough for both.”

– Ijeoma Umebinyuo

You can purchase her book here: theijeoma.com

Simone Wilson

Simone, a current graduate student in art therapy, has always found her creativity to align with art. Recently she began sharing her own work on Depop (an app to sell and buy items) as a journey of self-expression but most importantly self-care. With her heavy workload, she finds that her art has become a muse for therapeutic release and a reflection of her ancestral influences. She knows who she is, a black woman, and she purposefully draws women that she sees and is inspired by in her personal life, expressing that those around us hold so much beauty and power in our everyday battles.

You can see a collection of her work: depop.com/abenaa_chulukazi

Musa Nxumalo

From “Alternative Kidz” Photography Musa Nxumalo

Like the previous artists, Musa’s work focuses on themes of self-discovery, personal expressions, and the struggles of black youth in South Africa. Born in Soweto, his proximity to images of dysfunction, drug abuse, and lack of social stratification amongst his community is reflected in his photographs. A young contemporary himself, he is intentional in showing his generation’s defiance and refusal to conform to the historical precedence in South Africa.

To learn more about Musa visit smacgallery.com/artist/musa-n-nxumalo.

Breyona Holt

Photograph by Breyona Holt

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the 22-year-old photographer, blogger, and public speaker found comfort and importance of visual documentation after the loss of her mother. Capturing moments and time became significant and therapeutic, creating stories and depictions through images. As her journey of self expression changed, so did her intentions behind the camera as she began focusing more on capturing women, especially of color, that gave them recognition, importance, and the credit they deserve. Her photographs translate beauty in all variations of hair texture, skin tone, and size, formulating her brand called the Exquisite Eye, relaying her knack for capturing beauty where society tells us there is none.

Desirée Venn Frederic

A Sierra Leonean-born immigrant, Venn Frederic first identifies as an artist, wearing many hats of creativity, such as writer, curator, photographer, blogger, and so on. She is the founder of Nomad Yard, a globally minded vintage shop in Washington, D.C. that expresses her interests in fashion, visual culture, and critical theory. Her blog consists of critical rhetoric and thought-provoking critique of art, current events, and self-exploration. Her conceptual work is ever growing, fluid, and transparent, as her groundwork of cultural studies and artistic expression inspire her artistic endeavors.

 

Mizan 

A singer-songwriter, Mizan was born in the States but raised in her home country of Ethiopia. Music has always been an outlet in her life, playing piano at just the age of seven and writing her own music at twelve. Her EP, Dark Blue, consisted of her writing, production, and creativity with the help of her sister, who herself is an artist/painter. Her sound evokes honesty, vulnerability, and a calm certainty of her flaws, making her work relatable, refreshing, and rich.

To listen to her EP and more: soundcloud.com/mizank