Cool Stuff Friday.


A close look at the marker drawings of Ben Biayenda reveals a wide range of direct references from African tribal art to French Post-Impressionism and current pop culture. The Paris-based art student’s work celebrates black beauty in all of its diversity. His sensitive portraits depict black women in moments of intimacy, connection and self-care. His scenes are of beauty parlors and plant-filled bohemian apartments. In girl’s dinner, three black women sit down together to share some sushi rolls. An African mask, a Matisse cut out, and a poster of Angela Davis hang on the wall behind them. One of the guests has vitiligo, perhaps an homage to Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model with the skin condition.


Biayenda started drawing black women two years ago, inspired, he says, by “black femininity, sisterhood, and little moments of beauty.” He is also inspired by black feminist conceptual artists like Adrian Piper and Michèle Magema to interrogate race, gender roles, Western beauty standards, and art itself through his work. Born in Namibia to French and Congolese parents, the artist grew up in France and was exposed to fine art at a young age. He grew to especially love French painters, from Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to Henri Rousseau. “I was really fascinated by painting and I was going to museums in Paris. I really loved it, but there was some frustration to not see much black representation in famous paintings,” he recalls to The Creators Project over a Skype call. His response was to create his own version of art history through work that reflected his own standards of beauty, while drawing on the poses and atmosphere of the classic works he admired.

You can read and see much more at The Creators Project, his website and Instagram.

The Creators Project has a great look at Awol Erizku, and his aesthetic for photographing Beyoncé’s pregnancy:


Click on over to read the full story and see much more.


  1. says

    I love the pics of Bey.
    Of course, some white woman had to chastise her for being happily pregnant when she herself isn’t. Look, I understand perfectly well that it hurts to see/hear about happily pregnant people when you had a failed pregnancy or have fertility issues, I’ve been there.
    But it’s
    A) significant that this suddenly becomes an issue when it’s THE black woman who is attacked
    B) one of the things you simply have to deal with. Life is horribly unfair, but you cannot condemn all pregnant people to hide because of you.

  2. rq says

    I love the underwater and I love the black-and-whites with the corona.
    I’m not a big fan of big floral arrangements (personal taste) but Beyoncé poses them well and Erizku takes them well. They have a lot of life and a lot of character and a lot of colour.

    I like the attitude and strength and variety and humanity shining out from Biayenda’s work. A lot of it is simple in style, but with so much to say. I’m glad he’s saying it, through all the individual women in his art.

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