Arts + Culture
Photo courtesy of PULSE Art Fair.

4 Black Artists You Need To See at PULSE Miami Beach 2017

PULSE Miami Beach returns for its 13th edition this weekend, and these are the black artists you can't miss.

PULSE Miami Beach, a fair that dedicates itself to all things contemporary art, goes down at Indian Beach Park this Thursday, December 7 through Sunday, December 10.

This will be the 13th edition for the fair and marks the debut of their new director, Katelijne De Backer. Under her leadership PULSE will welcome its vibrant audience to over 70 galleries from five continents and will introduce 15 first time exhibitors at the fair.

The fair's oceanfront location is the perfect backdrop for a multi-faceted and engaging experience with a range of works from international artists.

You can find the complete rundown of who will be showing art at PULSE Miami Beach here, and read up on the four black artists you need to see at the fair below.


1. Tony Gum

Tony Gum, Xhosa Woman - Umfazi, 2017. Courtesy of Christopher Moller Gallery.

Tony Gum, represented by Christopher Moller Gallery (the only gallery representing the continent) will show her latest work, 'Ode to She', in her solo exhibition at PULSE. It encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a Xhosa woman, a human expression of 'womanhood'. To create the images, Gum went on a pilgrimage to the Eastern Cape —her ancestral homeland—where she learned about the rituals of womanhood in Xhosa culture.

"I believe in honoring our individual truths," she says in a press release. "Our ability to pause, reflect, connect and celebrate that which makes each of us whole means we are better placed to recognize and respect this essence in others."

Read more about 'Ode to She' in our Q&A with Gum here.

2. Devan Shimoyama

Crowned, 2017. Oil, color pencil, jewelry, sequins, collage, acrylic and feathers on canvas. Courtesy of Samuel Freeman Gallery.

Devan Shimoyama is an African- American artist being presented by Samuel Freeman Gallery.

The multi-media works being featured in his solo presentation strikes deeper into the language of mythology and stereotype. Shimoyama works to entices the viewer into mythical landscapes and nighttime jungles.

"In these paintings, I use the language of classical mythology, folklore and contemporary stereotype to illuminate a small fraction of what it means to be a Young Black Gay Man in search of his own identity," Shimoyama says in a press release. "In these works, the Black Male Figure becomes an archetypal shamanistic character navigating from painting to painting, sharing with the viewer tiny moments of magic."

3. Devin N. Morris

Devin N. Morris, Untitled Red (sam 04), 2016. Digital c-print. Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

Devin N. Morris was recently named one of the "12 African American Photographers to Watch" by Time magazine. In his monochrome photograph series, '11 Conveniences,' he created an environment with fabrics, domestic furnishings and figures. He is currently exhibiting in 'We the People' at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and previously shown in Queering Space, the first queer show at the Yale School of Art.

"Subjects and objects are arranged in a way that reads as an assemblage, as I am often trying to readdress the many assembled parts of the disparate African American history," Morris says in a release.

4. Nnenna Okore

Nnenna Okore, Okochi, 2017. Burlap, dye and wire. Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

Nnenna Okore is a Nigerian artist, a former intern of El Anatsui and recent Fulbright Fellow. She creates organic and twisted structures that mimic the intricacies of the fabric, trees, bark, and topography familiar from her childhood in Nigeria.

In her newest works, Okore aspires "to represent through the use of visual metaphor, and vibrant elements the potency and ephemerality of life and its natural cycles."

For more on PULSE Miami Beach 2017 check out their website and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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