When there’s plenty to be sad, angry, stressed and fearful about, the concept of joy can be revolutionary. It’s part of a collection of restorative themes that Danielle Elise, founder of the All Black Creatives foundation and agency, selected for “Art Is Revolution,” a virtual 3D exhibit highlighting innovative Black artists.
“Black joy is one of my favorite things to see and celebrate,” said Elise, curator of “Art Is Revolution.” “The theme for this week exists just for that purpose — to spark memories of happy times in childhood, to remind us to dance. … Black joy is revolutionary because laughter [and] joy literally keep us alive.”
HuffPost partnered with All Black Creatives and RYOT, Verizon Media’s immersive storytelling production house, to bring this art to readers’ homes at a time when many museums and galleries are closed.
Using different technologies, including drone-captured photogrammetry, we have transformed artwork into augmented reality exhibits for you to explore. By using your mobile phone, you can also bring these pieces, virtually, into your own space (just click the camera icon at the top right of your screen).
Each week throughout October, we’re highlighting a new theme for our exhibit, a four-part series featuring works by an array of artists. This week we’re featuring a photographer, an illustrator, a visual emcee and more.
The theme “was chosen so specifically — I wanted to show Black people smiling, dancing, thriving,” Elise said. “We deserve joy. We deserve all of the happiness in the world, and nothing makes me happier than being in a room or space with family and friends and just laughing.”
Painter and muralist, Oakland, California
Dance and art are at the center of culture and are languages through which we tell stories, empower ourselves and carry tradition. Black culture is deeply rooted in dance and there are so many parallels between traditional and modern movement. I wanted to create a reflection of the black women I see every day, and pay homage to the ancestry which moves through us. I also wanted to create a beacon of positive energy and power, something that makes people feel invigorated to be in its presence. It is important to stand up and fight, and it’s also important to stay in tune with your own energy, joy and power.
Below: Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith’s mural.
Photographer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Falling directly in the uproar of needed protests, increasing body counts and a pandemic that no one seems to understand, Juneteenth bears the tradition of strength and perseverance that is embedded in [our] history. As I captured the faces of varying generations at Philadelphia’s “Jawn-Teenth” I reveled in the fact that we’ve always been able to find joy, light and celebration amidst the darkness; Juneteenth 2020 was no different. Joy is a power.
Below: One of Marcus Branch’s photographs.
Artist, London, UK
I wanted to create some black joy through my artwork. I wanted my illustrations to nurture, soothe and make people smile in a difficult time. From this objective, I turned some of my artwork into a special phone wallpaper gift that I sent out to anyone who requested it! Since we all spend a lot of time on our phones, taking in all sorts of information, I thought this would be the best way to cheer people up.
Below: One of Ashton Attzs’ pieces.
Artist, Atlanta, Georgia
Creating art has always been an escape for me. I’m able to wash away the grime of reality and recenter myself on the things that make me feel whole and happy. “Home” was created through my coming to terms with the fact that I can choose what the meaning of the word means to me. While the physical home that I grew up in is very far away, I’m able to find new homes in people and spaces that carry that same feeling of belonging.
Below: One of Trudi-Ann Hemans’ photographs.
Charles George Esperanza
Illustrator and visual emcee, The Bronx, New York
I have a voice that is seldom heard – a fusion of jazz, distorted guitars and chirping birds. I created these pieces as a way of creating a narrative between my favorite things, like elephants and the piragua man (a seller of Puerto Rican shaved ice).
Below: One of Charles George Esperanza’s pieces.
All images courtesy of the artists.
HuffPost: Ivylise Simones, Creative Director; Jennifer Kho, Director of Strategic Innovation; Francesca Syrett, Global Managing Editor, Video
WebAR experiences produced by RYOT: Karen Masumoto, Co- Creator/ Creative Director; Danielle Jackson, Co- Creator/ Art Curator; Jake Sally, Executive Producer; Aisha Yousaf, Art Director; Guenever Goik, Head of CG; Patrick Love, Producer; Matt Valerio, Project Manager; Christina Douk, Lead CG Artist; Prabuddha Paul, Visual & 3D Designer; Alexandra Boden, Surfacing Artist; Thorsten Bux, WebXR Expert & Lead Engineer; Sean McCall, Product Manager Immersive Platform; Ricky Baba, Creative Director