These Images Tell the Stories of American Blackness

Image courtesy of Laurence Cheatham.

There is a long tradition of Black art honoring historic moments in America, using a visual vernacular that mixes influential figures with motifs of Heaven and guardian spirits. In this feature for the New York Times, Sandra E. Garcia discusses these pieces and their power as expressions of both pride and memorialization. Speaking with various artist and industry professionals, Garcia pays particular attention to the work of Laurence Cheatham and his documentation of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Throughout art we have always celebrated folks that we see as heroes. They become a symbol of good conquering evil. That is really central to just telling stories — and history is really about telling stories.” - Aaron Bryant