Studio PI in Black History
The artists creating incredible pieces that celebrate black culture and drive the conversation about racism
As a creative agency that represents illustrators and photographers from diverse and often overlooked backgrounds, Studio PI has been inspired by the work of our artists this Black History Month 2020. Here are just a few of our illustrators' works exploring self-identity and the world as seen through a new lens for our times.
I made "Illustrations" after I was commissioned to create a new work on our current racial climate for One World magazine's latest issue, which also included portraits of incredible Black Lives Matter protestors from two European cities: Melz Owosu in the UK and Naomie Pieter in the Netherlands.
Eastpak wanted to create a platform where people can celebrate black culture during Black History Month. My illustration, which was commissioned, portrays a young black girl with fists in place of her Bantu knots. The black and white fists symbolise that the fight against racism must be fought together, with the help of allies to secure a safer future for black children.
“Wordplay” is a piece I did for an essay in The New York Times about a Nigerian woman, Linda Egbuna, in an Igbo community who finds her way back to her estranged sister after tragedy strikes through her love of crossword puzzles.
The FA celebrated iconic players during Black History Month and my portrait for this was of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – the first African player to captain his side to an Emirates FA Cup trophy. No Room For Racism has been a powerful campaign in football and support for the Black Lives Matter, including the No Room for Racism logo on kits and taking the knee before each game is an important contribution to the global fight against social injustice and systematic racism.
I created a personal piece – “Do the Right Thing”. Having watched Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing for the first time, I was so in awe of the movie that I created this film study of Radio Raheem. His film illustrated to me to the complex morality behind the racial tensions in the US. It was an important film for me to watch during the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
“Wishing” is my response to the situation we find ourselves in. Putting our expectations all on hope for the future only delays what we can achieve today... But is it not our time now to “live equally” as our basic right? We need to break away from time – the biggest illusion!
I created this Black Lives Matter image represents all the black lives lost and the families and friends that are left behind grieving them. I made this illustration for one of our next @workitgirlbooks publishing next year, but it’s relevant right now because it is about #blacklivesmatter.
This is my portrait of Theodor Wonja Michael. He said that he only survived the Nazi regime because he tried to stay invisible and never crossed the street at a red light... It’s just something that really touched me, because although we do learn a lot about the Second World War at school we never learned about black people during that time and the fear people had for their own life... You learn the horrible facts but they are taught quite emotionless in a way and really, each story is deeply personal.