On the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) has released a virtual art series celebrating Black life and the inspiration offered by King’s legacy and work in civil rights. The organization invited a group of Black artists to share online and via Instagram artworks that offer uplifting messages of love, amplifying Black voices amid the violence and hatred that have prevailed in recent months.
Co-curated by Noni Limar and Patrisse Cullors, the BLMGN Co-Founder and Executive Director, the series includes commissioned works by Derrick Adams, Christian Scott, Melanie Charles, Rodney Diverlus, Nikki Blak, and Shaina Simmons. Adams, for example, created MLK’s Tropic Interlude, a colorful scene from King’s stay in Jamaica depicting a moment of leisure enjoyed alongside his wife Coretta, inspired by a 1967 article from Ebony Magazine. Each artist shared a statement along with their work in support of a central theme of healing.
“The most familiar images of MLK show him during his fight for our civil rights,” said Adams. “These rare images from Jamaica are a necessary reminder that during our challenging work towards equality, we must also spend time in restorative self-reflection and regeneration, in order to continue and thrive.”
Other favorites in the series include an ode to the beauty of history and tradition by the Grammy-nominated Scott, a song and video from Charles reinforcing the need for Black joy, Simmons’s performance video titled Twerk on Washington, and more.
“Every artist in this series was handpicked because each of them center love as part of their work. We know MLK believed in love as the center of his work and at the center of the civil rights movement,” said Cullors. “Join us in honoring his legacy through this beautiful and transformative artist series.”