ARTNOIR // Creating space for black and brown art - Bubblegum Club

ARTNOIR // Creating space for black and brown art

It’s Black History Month in the United States, which presents Americans and the world at large an opportunity to learn more about historically minimised portions of a history that colour the present day existence of folks in the US and even worldwide.

However, while most are detached from investigations of black history in the US, organisations and collectives like ARTNOIR have made it their lives work to directly address the work and stories of black and brown folks as well as to engage the public on their findings.


Toyin Ojih Odutola, Between the Margins, 2017.


Paul Anthony Smith, Departure Amputated; nd.

Founded by Larry Ossei-Mensah, Carolyn “CC” Concepcion, Danny Báez, Isis Arias, Jane Aiello, Melle Hock and Nadia Nascimento, the collective and not-profit organisation started out as a collection of friends and art admirers that organised gallery, museums and art events trips together.

From their travels, the collective realised the need to open up the exclusive and often restrictive art space for more inclusive and diverse bodies of work.

Since its start in 2013, the collective has worked with black and brown artists in New York and across the globe, creating opportunities for arts, building platforms for community and relationships as well as facilitating experiences and interactions between the people, history and art.


Toyin Ojih Odutola, Big Floyd, 2020.

To Forbes, one of its founders, Larry Ossei-Mensah explains

Black artists and creativity have been the bedrock for cultural production not only in the US, but around the world. We’ve made a point to uplift, celebrate and educate our communities of this fact…

For so long, Black artists weren’t getting their proper due respect and now as we’ve reached an inflection point it has become imperative to honour the paradigm shift. By supporting Black artists and the Black art ecosystem we are supporting the journey towards justice, liberation and equity for all people.

ARTNOIR’s recent 5 part programme – From A Place Of A Place – at the historical and impactful Meatpack District in New York, presented an opportunity for learning.


Paul Anthony Smith, Cosmos; 2018.


Tiffany Alfonseca, No Te Hagas La Santa; 2020.

Learning about the history of black lives in the space, learning about the lives of the district’s current residents and learning about the opportunities for growth and the transformation of black and brown futures in the locale.

Curated by Danny Báez, the event explored the histories, present realities and future imaginations of black and brown folk through the work of visual artists, sculpture artists, performers and sonic artists, and through engagements with communities and community leaders and the neighbourhood itself.

Collectives like ARTNOIR, that breakdown and reinvent what traditionally academic spaces can look and be like, are an important part of how the current zeitgeist is working to create more welcoming and dynamic visions of the future for generations of currently marginalised people.


Tiffany Alfonseca, Demi con el pelo bueno; 2018.


Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Harp-Strum; 2016.

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