Black History Month 2019: Stories + Art by Some of VIDA’s African-American Artists

This Black History Month, VIDA celebrates its incredible black artists who have made tremendous contributions to the black community through their artwork. Each work in these collections depicts unique perspectives, while adding to the diverse, rich, and stratified culture and heritage of the black narrative. VIDA is proud to share their perspectives and art with their family, friends, and fans with the hope of inspiring a new generation of artists.

We are delighted to present the works of Synthia Saint James, Alicia Jones, and George Clinton, artists who have dedicated their lives to creating an impact on their communities while promoting the importance of art as a tool to explore one’s identify.

Dr. Synthia Saint James

Dr. Synthia Saint James celebrated her 50th anniversary as a professional artist, and 70th birthday this Black History Month. With many of her works being influenced by cultures and traditions deriving from the African diaspora, James remains humbled by her gift as she shares the beauty she observes with her art. Saint James’s VIDA collection currently features vivid and detailed pieces, such as “The International Decade,”Slumber,” “Masekela’s Marketplace,” and “Junkanoo.”

Alicia Jones

Artist Alicia Jones emphasizes two of the most fundamental and heartening human emotions – hope and joy. Jones, a fine artist and designer born in Jamaica and currently living in New York, celebrates her Caribbean roots through her artwork. In her own words, Jones states that the “Joy in what [she’s] created and  hope in what we can each accomplish… [generates a change and belief] that we can trigger and mimic within our communities.” Jones’ reconstruction technique in “Caribbean Sugarcane” can be found in her VIDA collection.

George Clinton

George Clinton is well recognized by BMI, is a recipient of the NAACP Image Awards and Motown Alumni Association for lifetime achievements, and an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As an artist who has achieved great success on various platforms, Clinton’s legacy serves as a form of encouragement and motivation for every artist he inspires. Clinton’s one-of-a-kind collaboration with VIDA, GEORGE CLINTON X VIDA, marks a new era for his creative genius.

Although Black History Month has come to an end, for artists like Art Jacobs whose every creation explores the obscurities and multiplicity of the subconscious, and Angela L. Walker who solely desires to delve into acknowledging and embracing notions of truth and thus the self, there is a reason to celebrate Black culture every day. It is through artists like Cristle Sims, influenced by the works of prominent artist and who herself wishes to encourage the passion for art in youths, that a new generation of artists are being born.

While our featured artists have garnered much praise and growth with each of their pieces, individuals must remember that like Sheila J. Hall, these artists employ their own distinctive experiences, memories, dreams, and visions to construct their artwork, and like Alaiyo Bradshaw, they bring their images to life through personal depictions. As in any field, that of art has its preferences and comforts, and most importantly does not limit an individual’s chosen path of expression. Thus, for artists like Laura Shafer, who has a strong admiration for clean lines and alluring colors in her photography, and Cedric Baker who envisions the future of art as vivid, innovative, and amusing, there is a promise. A promise of freedom and acceptance for all.