20 September 2017

Africa: #DrawingWhileBlack - a Celebration of Black Artists By Ghanaian Illustrator Annabelle Hayford

The hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack has created a buzz on social media, particularly on Twitter. The organiser, Annabelle Hayford a first generation Ghanaian American wanted to appreciate and celebrate black artists. The artists have come out in droves, sharing drawings which show remarkable talent and finesse.

When Annabelle Hayford, a first generation Ghanaian-American animator and illustrator organised #DrawWhileBlack she probably didn't realise how much she'd light up Twitter. The 19 year-old Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) student who has interned with Warner Bros Studios started the hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack in order to appreciate black artists.

Annabelle shared the post both on Facebook and Twitter. The hashtag has been getting a lot of responses and reactions on Twitter. Various artists have been posting their works and location. Twitter became Disneyland during the weekend, fun filled, exotic, colourful and full of surprises.

Annabelle who works as an illustrator with INU INU confessed to not seeing her identity properly represented in the art world. She wanted the world to know that black artists exist and deserve the same amount of recognition white artists get too.

In a conversation with Refinery29 she said, "Of course there was backlash from others who felt that race has nothing to do with art, but those people need to realize that art isn't in a vacuum. Your experiences affect your work and career, and that includes race."

Annabelle on her tumblr page describes herself as loving cartoon and social activism is keen to see artists network together and hopefully get hired. The amount of shared work came from everywhere in the world. "We are here making art; we just need the resources, visibility, and understanding," Annabelle said.

Read: Digital dimensions - Ghanaian illustrators test boundaries in modern art

At a time when the discourse on race is heightened and has become the focus of conversations, the hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack is a huge contribution to the race discourse. As for her goal and what she hopes the hashtag would achieve, she was quoted by Refinery29 saying "I think the biggest takeaway from #DrawingWhileBlack is that it's okay to be proud of who you are! Whether you are black and/or an artist, you should celebrate your identity -- especially in places where you don't see your identity represented."

Starting a hashtag event to celebrate and appreciate black artists this weekend !🙌🏿✊🏾👌🏽💫 RTs are greatly appreciated! #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/SFptXsuuMk

- Abelle✨🦌@ AnimeNYC (@sparklyfawn) September 13, 2017

hi my name is Annabelle✨I'm a first generation Ghanaian American animator and illustrator! I'm also the organizer of #drawingwhileblack 💫💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/mBVqbVPh8C

- Abelle✨🦌@ AnimeNYC (@sparklyfawn) September 15, 2017

Hey I'm Mitch.

A blogger and Occasional Artist from Ghana 🇬🇭

Retweet if you like this! #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/bKORZUpoxM

- MITCH (@GodwinMitchual) September 17, 2017

Hi, I am samson adebayo ... I am a graphic artist... I draw when i am bored.. here are some of my old drawings ... #drawWhileBlack ... pic.twitter.com/Q8l41utkta

- MANDEM (@kvngSpice) September 18, 2017

S/o to @sparklyfawn for giving us #drawingwhileblack! Mark your calenders folks and let's make this an annual event! https://t.co/rZHMUwTy7o

- ROZE (@SuperbadLarry) September 19, 2017

Heyyo! I'm Alex (aka AJ). Im a carribean animation student hoping make comics and to one day work at a cartoon studio. #drawingwhileblack pic.twitter.com/03VVxR4xfC

- [email protected] (@jgeekieart) September 17, 2017

Hi! Im Crisalys, an illustrator from Chile and fan of sneakers, fashion and mixing them with girls 👟✨ #latinoHispanicartist 🇨🇱 pic.twitter.com/H0EPikSxny

- Crisalys (@Criisalys) September 19, 2017

the sun comes down from the sky and falls in love with a man ☀️💕💋 pic.twitter.com/nu9eEnfFD4

- Akshay B. Varaham 🐗 (@ab_varaham) September 19, 2017

Tags: #DrawingWhileBlackAnnabelle HayfordGhanaian illustratorMarlyand Institute College of Art (MICA)

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