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Black Artists Shaping the World

Sharna Jackson, Dr Zoé Whitely


A multi-award-winning book that introduces young readers to the work of twenty-six contemporary Black artists from Africa and of the African diaspora

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Written by award-winning Black British children’s author Sharna Jackson, Black Artists Shaping the World celebrates the diversity of work being produced today by Black artists from around the globe, introducing young readers to twenty-six contemporary artists from Africa and of the African diaspora.

Sharna Jackson’s experience as a children’s author who has worked for over a decade in the cultural sector, both at Tate in London and at Site Gallery in Sheffield, is combined here with the curatorial expertise of Dr Zoé Whitley, Director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery and co-curator of the landmark Tate exhibition ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’. Their book features artists working in a variety of media from painting, sculpture and drawing to ceramics, installation art and sound art. Artists featured include British Turner Prize-winning painters Lubaina Himid and Chris Ofili; renowned South African visual activist Zanele Muholi; Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh; Sudanese painter Kamala Ibrahim Ishag; Kenyan-British ceramicist Magdalene Odundo; African-American artists Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley; performance artist Harold Offeh; and moving image artist Larry Achiampong.

The result is a refreshingly contemporary celebration of Black artists at work today that will serve as inspiration to a new generation of aspiring young artists.

Winner of Five Awards:
• SLA Information Book Award, Judges Award Winner, Age 13-16 category 2022
• SLA Information Book Award, Children's Choice Winner, Age 13-16 category 2022
• SLA Information Book Award, Judges Choice Winner 2022
• Junior Design Awards - GOLD medal winner
• Made for Mums Awards - GOLD award


'A beautifully designed short encyclopedia of contemporary art ... Enlightening'
The New York Times Book Review


'The world as we know it, has in many ways been shaped by the creative genius of Black people and their unparalleled contribution to civilisation. This publication draws on the civilisational splendour of our forebears, while also serving as a call for today's Black artists to use their creative genius to reconfigure the face of the world once more and to humanise it through art. For this reason, I am both honoured and excited to be a co-architect of this historic moment'
Zizipho Poswa

'So proud and honoured to be in this very very VERY important publication ... magical'
Larry Achiampong, artist

'I’m absolutely delighted to be included in this beautiful publication ... brilliant'
Harold Offeh, artist

'The inspiring mixture is both eclectic and innovative, providing personal histories and an appreciation of their acumen and originality in a variety of art forms. An essential read for any reader wanting to delve into contemporary art'
Children's Books Ireland

'I recommend this for teachers of all ages who are seeking to decolonialise the curriculum'
Nikki Gamble

'An intriguing source of ideas and inspiration for both teachers and students'
Teach Secondary

'A necessary collection for artists and art lovers, this anthology highlights twenty-six Black contemporary artists. Offering recognition and praise for artists routinely locked out of mainstream art conversations, this book highlights their stories, their specific styles, and reproduces one of their signature works'
Book Riot

'What makes this volume unique is that it’s all about revealing the power of the arts through the lenses of creators from across the global African diaspora... Jackson offers a concise biography of each artist, explores the methods they utilize, and presents a full-color reproduction of one (or more) of their signature works... A magnificent assemblage of Black artists we all need to know and cherish'
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

'A vibrant vital book ... it has electricity and fierce celebration'


'A concise introduction to 26 contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora who work in drawing, ceramics, installation art, painting, performance, photography, and sculpture ... Their stories are told in images and easy-to-follow texts set in a brightly colorful layout'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC

Size: 24.0 x 17.2 cm

Extent: 144 pp

Illustrations: 62

Publication date: 30 September 2021

ISBN: 9780500652596

Contents List

Larry Achiampong – Relic Traveller
El Anatsui – Bleeding Takari II
Sonia Boyce – From Tarzan to Rambo
María Magdalena Campos-Pons – The Flag
Nick Cave – Soundsuit #2
Joana Choumali – Because We Actually Played Outside As Kids
Lubaina Himid – Naming the Money
Kamala Ibrahim Ishag – Two Women (Eve and Eve)
Rosemary Karuga – Woman Standing
Abdoulaye Konaté – Femme du Sahel
Ibrahim Mahama – Non-Orientable Nkansa
Kerry James Marshall – School of Beauty, School of Culture
Zanele Muholi – Bester I, Mayotte, 2015
Magdalene A.N. Odundo DBE, OBE – Untitled #15
Harold Offeh – Lounging
Chris Ofili – No Woman, No Cry
Emeka Ogboh – LOS-CDG (Lagos to Paris)
Toyin Ojih Odutola – Maebel
Zizipho Poswa – Ukukhula I and II
Faith Ringgold – Tar Beach
Athi-Patra Ruga – The Night of the Long Knives I
Amy Sherald – First Lady Michelle Obama
Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA) – Butterfly Kid (Girl) IV
Carrie Mae Weems – Untitled
Kehinde Wiley – Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – A Concentration
List of artworks
About the author & consultant

About the Author

Sharna Jackson is an award-winning children’s author and curator. She is the author of four books for children, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020 winner High-Rise Mystery (2019) and Mic Drop (2020). Dr Zoé Whitley is the Director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery and co-curator of ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’ (2017).