ASHINEDU ART ADVOCATE (AAA)
I want to tell you a little bit about the WHY I am starting this platform ASHINEDU ART ADVOCATE.
I am mixed — my father was a Black Nigerian and my mother is a White German. I grew up in Nigeria until the age of 10; then we moved to Germany. I studied History of European Art and English literature at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and I am currently also based in this country.
During the Covid-19 lockdown a worldwide movement or challenge started, where people reenacted paintings, drawings and sculptures of renowned artists. Most people seemed to use pictures of art they found online, on museum homepages or art platforms. As an art historian I really loved the idea and wanted to partake in this challenge. But when I started checking the homepages and collections of German museums and platforms for art, I realised that there are not many works to be found, which I, as a mixed person with brown skin, could reenact. In fact, I found very little art work displaying people that might represent my skin colour or ethnic background. So I searched the internet specifically for Black artists and representation of Black figures in art. And I came across stunning pieces by artist Amy Sherald. The women she portrays on the canvases are not exactly my skin colour, however, I feel represented by her paintings. There is a lot of amazing art by black people out there, but I feel there are still not enough platforms sharing it, speaking about it and spreading the word. Especially for me, living in Germany, I feel I do not come in contact with art by Black and Brown artists enough, even though I am part of the art world and have travelled.
Of course I was already aware of the fact that people with darker skin colour are underrepresented in museums, art institutions, galleries and in the work force throughout the art scene. Working mostly in Europe, I often found myself being the only darker person in the room. I am aware that there are many and very complex and far reaching reasons for that, but to get into that conversation is not the reason for my platform.
I would like to be an advocate for Black and Brown artists, designers and authors who have generally been underrepresented. Furthermore, I want to increase the visibility of visual art and literature that display and feature people with darker skin.
The focus of this platform lies on promoting art from the African continent and from people of darker skin of the African diaspora.
This platform does not claim to achieve a complete overview, but to present content that I come in contact with, which resonates with me and which I would like to support.
This is not about excluding another group of people, but about creating space for the visibility of otherwise underrepresented creatives.