Today I want to talk about the genesis of Women Who Project.
A few months ago I was having some productive conversations with fellow female artists friends of color about not coming across platforms that consistently feature women of color and their work. One conversation in particular was with Tanekeya Word, the writer behind the new series, Women Who Project. One afternoon on Instagram we were DMing back and forth about some of my concerns surrounding being a black woman in the commercial arts navigating a realm where so few of us have ventured, and not finding platforms that support or celebrate our work.
I expressed to her my hunger and eagerness to see more of us being highlighted, to read more about our stories, and see more about what we are doing.
But for 2017 I predict a shift. I see more artists like Nuri Abdur-Rauf, who we just posted about last week, on other design and typography blogs, and shared across various social media outlets. (Her work is brilliant!) I claim that the work from people like Angela Pilgrim, Kenesha Sneed, Lulu Kitololo, Gabi Smith, e Bond, Mengly Hernandez, Chioma Ebinama, and Nikki Farquharson (and many many more) are highlighted and given the recognition they deserve. And not just the visuals or products these women create but also being recognized for the activism, community building, and entrepreneurial projects they are spearheading. I am looking forward to seeing all of these women featured on panels at conferences, doing talks, being invited to collaborate with brands, teaching workshops, and being flown around the world to exhibit their work.
Fly has always been a platform where I created what I wanted to see. It's been the place where I share the important work from people, especially women of color, who reflect my community and who inspire me. I will that in 2017 and beyond, that Fly is just one of MANY blogs, publications, and media platforms that support and celebrate women of color in the arts, specifically women of color in the commercial arts: the illustrators, the graphic designers, etc.
In knowing this, Tanekeya and I discussed what we could do now. How do we support this vision?
In that conversation I remembered that it is all up to us. And that meant getting back to work on creating more content that reflects what we want to see. My books and other works are extensions of that idea, but I'm looking to getting back to using my platforms to support that vision.
And that was how Women Who Project (and the resurgence of my desire to post more on Fly) was born.
What I know for sure is that the people in my tribe are creating some dynamic work with simply the intention of creating dynamic work. With that, we need to create spaces that are sustainable, spaces that allow us to support our families, build communities, have comfortable homes in comfortable neighborhoods, eat well, put gas in our cars, HAVE a car, collaborate with others, develop brands, create new platforms, and continue to do good work.
Most importantly we want to shine light on unspoken narratives, capture and share untold stories. We want to thrive and grow, and give back. And have the freedom to create.
And one thing we all know for sure is that that freedom comes with opportunity and information. We know that exposure leads to opportunity which then leads to access to resources and then more opportunity. Which is why I'm so excited about getting back to highlighting talents that are often overlooked. We hope to offer exposure that leads to opportunities.
So that's what we hope to do with Women Who Project and the other posts to come on Fly. This blog is a space that celebrates our light in a way that empowers us and allows us to BUILD.
Are you excited to see what happens in 2017? I am. Seeing this vision come to life starts with us. Check back soon for ways we can do this together.
Also, share in the comments below platforms you love that celebrate women of color in the arts.