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Celebrating Black Lives Art Contest Winners

 

Power to the Peaceful

FOR SALE | 14” x 17” | Artist: Rony Ramirez
Michael Franti once sang, “You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace.” This piece is inspired those powerful lyrics and instead of filling in a skin color or tone, moments of iconic peaceful protests and leading voices in the fight for peace become the life and strength depicted in this composition. Though their origins vary, their efforts in their fight are one in the same. The vibrant bordering contains a churning of elements timeless and shapeless as the tides of time.
Rony is a student in the architecture program where he is inclined to study things from all angles in hopes of further understanding the matter at hand. Learning about history and its growing pains, he has seen that it takes more courage to be graceful in the eyes of hate, than to hate back. That is why selfless freedom fighters inspire him to capture and absorb what the battle for justice and equality truly means through writing, art, and music
Power to the Peaceful. Artwork by Rony Ramirez

The State of Black Education

18” x 24” | Artist: Elsa Berry
My name is Elsa Berry and I am a Secondary Education major with a focus in English. I am an honors student here at OSU and created this piece as the final project for my American Literature final as well as for the personal opportunity to create a piece of art that reflects my passion for issues and advancements in education. This piece was inspired by many different elements and readings as well as my journey through a concept and American issue I had no idea still existed. The collage background features text samples from Margaret Crittendon Douglass' book, Educational Laws of Virginia, in which she writes her case as a white woman who is sentenced for teaching free black children in the 1850s – this reading what what initially inspired me. It also includes newspapers from the era in which desegregation, Jim Crow Laws, and Brown v. Board were occurring, and finally, online article titles of today showcasing the continuous and relevant issues that affect black education in America. The idea of equal education for all is long-disputed and what led me to my current research and findings. There are several references to Tulsa Public Schools in the college background as well, and this gave the piece a more local value and presence for Oklahoma State University and was the basis for my current time period research. The issues of school boundaries, funding disbursements, achievement gaps, poverty, and so many more all contribute to the current state of what a black child in America can face whilst trying to obtain a basic education. On the bottom of the piece is my drawing of a black school child who represents opportunity, innocence, and the perspective of a child not knowing they are growing up in an education system that might not serve them properly and leaves them disadvantaged when compared to their peers. As someone who is pursuing a career in education, this piece had the ability to open my eyes and make me more aware of the inequalities still present today in the education system we rely on to teach America’s future.
The State of Black Education. Artwork by Elsa Berry

Little Dancing Feet

FOR SALE | Artist: Saghar Mirtarazjani
My name is Saghar Mirtarazjani and I am originally from Tehran, Iran. I moved to the United States when I was 10 years old to Tulsa, Oklahoma with my little sister and mother. I graduated from Jenks High School and I am 19 years old. I am a freshman and I am majoring in International Business with a minor in Spanish. I used to be a swimmer and it was my favorite part of the day and my biggest stress reliever. Unfortunately, I got injured my freshman year of high school and needed to find a new hobby that helped with my anxiety and stress. I picked up a few different things but none of them stuck like drawing did. Once I started drawing it became my safe place and happy place.
This piece is called The Little Dancing Feet and it is my favorite art work of mine. It was originally drawn to represent what families go through during the slave trade and how slavery affected the kids in the family. The father’s feet are black and white to represent his absence due to slavery and how his little girl has to dance alone. The little girl’s feet are colorful to show the life and passion little girls have and how hard it is to not have a parent to share it with. However, this piece also has a separate meaning to my personal life. My biological father has not been present in my life for 9 years and this piece is how I expressed what I went through growing up. It represents so much to me and it holds a big place in my heart. 
Little Dancing Feet. Artwork by Saghar Mirtarazjani

Papa

18” x 24” | 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.
Papa. Artwork by Shyanne Dickey

Reigning Black Women Farmers

22” x 22” | 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.
Reigning Black Women Farmers. Artwork by Shyanne Dickey

The Real West

$450 | 22” x 30” | 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.
The Real West. Artwork by Shyanne Dickey

Black Men and Self Care

$20 | 16” x 19” | Artist: Lenley Brown
My name is Lenley Brown and I am originally from Perrine, a city in Miami Florida. Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of violence and witnessed things that have impacted my mental health. This picture indicates a self-portrait of myself going to a small lake by my house that I could go to and release any pressures. In this space, I self-care and try to restore myself before entering the “real world.”
Black Men and Self Care. Artwork by Lenley Brown

May 31st, 1921

$75 | 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. 
May 31st, 1921. Artwork by Brynn Garter

May 31st, 2021

$75 | 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. 
May 31st, 2021. Artwork by Brynn Garter

Journey to Liberation

FOR SALE | Artist: Doreen Andesola
This piece of art symbolizes the journey of African Americans from the past present to the future. Each part of the dress has materials of symbolic meaning, the chains and grey tone at the bottom of her dress depicts the hard times black people went through. On her hips are hands and fists rising up from the oppression and fighting to be heard. From her waist upward show the gradual bliss of what we hope the future will bring for our community. On her head she wears an olive crown symbolizing the peace we aim for and in her hand is a flower, offering beauty to whoever grants us such peace. From the barren fields and the chains bounding slavery black people have indeed fought and are still fighting for a bright future where their race along with all other races would be respected and treated equally. 
Journey to Liberation. Artwork by Doreen Andesola
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