Celebrating Black Lives
Art created by OKState students
Highlighting the stories, experiences and histories of Black lives through visual art.
The artwork below was curated as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities planned by the Division of Student Affairs and inspired by the work of OKState Stand United.
1st Place Winner
"Reigning Black Women Farmers"
Artist: Shyanne Dickey
My family’s legacy of black farmers I believe needs to be expressed, it is important to bring life to a history that has not been talked about, a history that is hidden deep in American soil. Our legacy begins with my three times great grandmother who we credit as the patriarch of our family’s success. It has been shared many times that the beginning of our journey, began when former slaves exodused from slavery to freedom. These slaves were heavily motivated by the strong will and pressing words of my great-great- great grandma Liza. She was able to establish her value in a society that often times overlooked women as weak and unworthy.
My work challenges the American structure towards whitewashing black Farmers, by using the metaphor of the farmer in the rural Midwest. The subject matter are strong black woman farmers, using the figure as an emblem to give power back to those once enslaved to those who are now owners of their own land. I’m giving the 1.34% a voice that their legacy has not died. I am tying the traditional African culture to the present tradition of farming through texture. Each kente fabric is like the pieces of our family rough and present and unique. Steeped in the royal fabrics is the depth of our fight to break systematic structures and renew our call back to our roots.
Artist: Brynn Garter
Brynn Gartner was born and raised in Tulsa. She is currently a freshman at Oklahoma State University and a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. Brynn is majoring in Graphic Design. Art is one of her many passions and she continues to explore different mediums.
My body of work combines important social events and the progression of time to investigate themes of race and identity. These two important social events are the Tulsa Race Riot that occurred on May 31st, 1921, and a Black Lives Matter rally that occurred on May 31st, 2020. For the first piece, I used graphite to represent an old picture taken from that time and to depict the clash between ‘Blacks’ and ‘Whites’. For the second piece, I used colored pencils to represent the present and to portray our appreciation of color and diversity. I was mainly influenced by Lavett Ballard. Ballard is a black artist who comments on the history of African American and female identity; she also specializes in collages. Her approach to exploring identity through collages influenced me to style my body of work as a collage. I have never created a piece of artwork that touches on racial inequality and how the progression of time affects our society. I hope to create more pieces like these in the future that focus on important issues we are still facing today.
2nd Place Winner
"May 31, 1921" and "May 31, 2021"
View more student artwork in the Orange Wall Art Gallery throughout the month of February 2021!
Located in the basement of the Student Union at Oklahoma State University