By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
LIFEWTR, a premium water brand with a history of amplifying social progress through art, has launched Black Art Rising, a digital exhibition documenting the diverse responses to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
According to organizers, the gallery was created to preserve this moment in time and help keep the movement alive and ensure future generations have access to the art and artists who are acting as vanguards of change.
“People get easily distracted. We must keep the conversations going, and people focused on what really matters. Art is an influence. Why wouldn’t we use our platform,” said burgeoning hip hop artist Tobe Nwigwe.
An artist whom gallery officials say lyrics and tone of music tell the story of a difficult upbringing as a first-generation-Nigerian kid in the Alief neighborhood of Houston, TX, Nwigwe has a singular goal in life: “to make purpose popular.”
His message reportedly has attracted fans worldwide, including culture heavyweights: Erykah Badu, Sway Calloway, Jill Scott, and Dave Chappelle.
Lo Harris, a digital artist, featured in the gallery, specializes in illustration and motion design and, through bright palettes and relational compositions, creates work that officials said champions vibrance, confidence, humanity, and celebrations of a more just and kind world.
“There’s an emphasis on joy in my work,” Harris stated.
“To celebrate Black joy at such a pivotal moment in history is, in itself, an act of revolution.”
The gallery also features Shae Anthony, Reyna Noriega, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, Temi Coker, and Thomas Evans (aka Detour).
“Creatives are the historians of current events,” remarked Evans, acclaimed as an all-around creative who specializes in large-scale public art, interactive visuals, portraiture, immersive spaces, and creative directing.
“The work that I’m doing is telling the story of what’s really happening when it comes to race.”
At launch, Black Art Rising features protest art from eight creators at the forefront of racial justice.
LIFEWTR, a part of the PepsiCo family, is also calling upon everyday creators to keep the movement strong by sharing original artwork for the chance to be aggregated into the Black Art Rising infinite digital gallery.
“When we elevate creators equally, allowing them to inspire the world and be inspired by others, creativity can flow freely,” Michael Smith Sr., the director of marketing for PepsiCo, stated in a news release.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that way, and Black creatives have long been underrepresented in the arts. It will take continued dedication by all, and at LIFEWTR, we are committed to using our platform to spotlight the amazing talents of Black creatives, who now more than ever are inspiring others to use their voices with purpose and push others to address systemic racism head on.”
Through the Black Art Rising Fund, LIFEWTR said it’s committing $50,000 to increase the number of diverse voices speaking their truth through art.
Creators who share their work using #BlackArtRisingContest and tag @LIFEWTR could be selected by LIFEWTR and special guest judges, including Tobe Nwigwe now through Friday, October 27.
Those selected will receive recognition on TheBlackArtRising.com and a $500 stipend from the $50k Black Art Rising Fund to finance art supplies for their next great creation.
In the coming weeks, fans will have the opportunity to win original artwork and limited-edition prints designed by Black Art Rising featured artists. Follow @LIFEWTR on Instagram for full details.
In August 2020, LIFEWTR parent company PepsiCo announced a more than $400 million set of initiatives over five years to support Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.
These initiatives comprise a holistic effort for PepsiCo to walk the talk of a leading corporation that helps address the need for systemic change. To learn more about these initiatives, visit pepsico.com/racial-equality-journey.
And for additional information on Black Art Rising, please visit TheBlackArtRising.com.