12 Black Visual Artists Prominent in the ’80s Not Named Jean-Michel Basquiat

It is important to highlight the Black artists whose contributions defined an era and laid the foundation for those who followed. Here are 12 Black visual artists who were prominent in the ’80s.

For hundreds of years, Black people have used art to tell stories about their history, and the struggles that exist throughout each generation. With each stroke, came a different form of expression unique to the artist’s personal experience, but specific to their culture as a whole. From the times of slavery, to the deceptive — and more often blatant — types of racism that African Americans suffer from today, the Black artist has become a necessary messenger for the social climate not only in the United States, but the entire world.

Transitioning from the civil rights movement of the ‘60s and the unapologetic pride of the ‘70s, Black art in the 1980s saw a significant shift in technique and creativity. The socioeconomic disadvantages for people of color became painfully evident as the decade progressed, and the artists of the time captured these moments on canvas, along with other forms of media. Many of the artists’ works were a deep exploration of a country in transition, but still a country unwilling to move on from the prejudice that it was built upon.

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