( ENSPIRE Feature ) The Black Artivism Capsule Captures The Black Experience Through Art
ENSPIRE Contributor: Rosemary Gonzalez
MMXX: The Black Artivism Capsule blossomed in a world transitioning from in-person to this “work from home” lifestyle and being the art lover that Nakia Booker is, she was interested in the different forms of art that were flooding her Instagram feed, as people searched for new ways to showcase their talent and expand their reach on social media.
Artist and cultural advocate Booker was first exposed to art through her grandfather, a part-time multimedia artist, and has fallen in love ever since. Since then, she has channeled her creativity and created The Black Artivism Capsule — a curated collection of art made by Black creatives worldwide during the 2020 pandemic to celebrate Black joy through art and self-love.
“As I found all these wonderful artists and saw the beautiful work they were displaying, I said someone should put this into a book,” said Booker. “Once I finally gave in, I started reaching out to artists about the idea and it turned into this beautiful project.”
Booker directly reached out to over 350 artists for the capsule. However, from a mix of photographers, painters, and digital creatives, the book only features 26 artists. Featured artists include Raphael Adjetey, Adjei Mayne, Ashley Nesmith, Khalid Thompson, and Crystal Kirk and explores “the lives and times of Black people, as defined by Black people.”
“It was a journey,” said Booker. “This project is of joy, resistance, and resilience, all at the same time. There is art in this book that is very emotional, some joyful and you are going to get a lot of emotions and feelings from this book.”
Aside from a pandemic, the world has witnessed many deaths of Black unarmed victims, like George Floyd and Breoanna Taylor. Booker hopes that with The Black Artivism Capsule she can provide a glimpse of joy, a source of healing, and fight against oppression through artistic expression. She believes that a collaborative connection through art can be an outlet and provide different perspectives needed to overcome limiting beliefs.
Artists were given the freedom to be creative as long as their work captured “moments in time, like the pandemic and this civil unrest”. As a woman of color, Booker expressed that she struggled with self-esteem, but has found Black joy. Black joy refers to accepting one’s Blackness and history.
“You don’t want to come across as the ‘angry Black woman,’ as we have been known and scared for so long,” said Booker. “If you listen to society you are supposed to be a certain way, act a certain way, or look a certain way and as a woman of color, you can’t do certain things. But, as I got older I had to accept myself for all that I am, be comfortable in my skin, and value myself first.”
As a cultural advocate, Booker says that certain conversations are needed because they are part of the past, present, and future.
“Our ancestors got us this far, and it’s our responsibility to pick up the baton and keep the culture going,” said Booker. “We move the world in a lot of different ways [and], we have an effect on the world in more ways than any other culture.”
MMXX: The Black Artivism Capsule spreads hope and joy, as it continues to shed light on the Black community. The capsule has now expanded from a physical copy to a digital collection of art from many artists. Now, with this virtual museum experience, people can immerse themselves into this plethora of Black art made by talented artists while a curated Spotify playlist of musical artists strives to inspire and empower.
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