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Black Lives Matter Takes on the Art World with New Culture Platform

Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture has been launched in a bid to promote African American artists ‘changing the world’

Black Lives Matter protester, Sacramento, California, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Justin Sullivan

Black Lives Matter protester, Sacramento, California, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Justin Sullivan

Black Lives Matter protester, Sacramento, California, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Justin Sullivan

Black Lives Matter, the social movement dedicated to countering systemic racism in the US, is launching a new arts and culture platform. The initiative is aimed at promoting the work of African American artists, and supporting the role of art in social change in the US. According to organizer Patrisse Cullors, 100 percent of proceeds will go towards the activist group and its 40 local chapters.

Cullors told the Hollywood Reporter: ‘Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture uplifts artists who are staging cultural interventions and changing the world through their work […] I curated this group of artists because their work is critical to transforming the way we relate to the world and to ourselves.’

The platform is being used by the organization as a basis for launching pop-up stores, events and capsule collections. The initiative recently ran an exhibition at pop culture convention ComplexCon in Long Beach, California, featuring artists Damon Davis, Carlos Garcia and Oto Attah, curated by Cullors.

Alongside drawing attention to artists and designers of colour, Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture will function as an e-commerce site, selling merchandise, limited edition prints and clothing. The inaugural featured artist is graphic designer Emory Douglas, who served as the Black Panther Party’s Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture in the 1970s, with the website selling prints of his 1971 work We Shall Survive, Without a Doubt.

Cullors, a LA-based artist and activist, co-founded Black Lives Matter in 2013 alongside Alicia Garza and Opal Tometiin, frustrated by George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager in Sanford, Florida. Since then, Black Lives Matter has transformed into a network of activists initiating protests around issues of police violence and white supremacy.

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