Artists square up to racial injustice via Instagram

Portrait of Breonna Taylor, from the Erased series by Greg Ruth
Portrait of Breonna Taylor, from the Erased series by Greg Ruth.
(Image credit: Courtesy the artist, via Instagram)

In recent weeks, mass protests and demonstrations have been staged across the US and worldwide following a series of recent killings in the US including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

In this time, Instagram has become a space for the global community to move in solidarity, towards a single mission: to demonstrate that black lives matter. The official Instagram account of Black Lives Matter – an international movement founded in 2013 – has now garnered 2.9 million followers and counting.

Many posts across Instagram have come from artists and creatives, making new work, or recontextualising historical pieces to respond to, and give a voice to this moment. What has emerged is art’s role, through the globally communicative force of social media to repeat and reinterpret messages that words often fail to articulate. 

The content of the last week has proved that art has the power to educate, spark debate, initiate change and speak about racial injustice, as well as take action against it. Many artists and creative bodies are sharing links to charities and resources or directing funds from the sale of their work to Black Lives Matter-related initiatives and organisations. These include the Minnesota Freedom Fund the Black Visions Collective and the 15 Percent Pledge

Here are just some of the many voices using their visual language to express the collective rage, resistance and solidarity of this moment and beyond, reinforced through art.

Hank Willis Thomas – artist

Fahamu Pecou – artist

Mark Clennon – photographer

Jammie Holmes – artist

Mona Chalabi – data journalist

Nikkolas Smith – artist

Jarrett Key – artist 

Fuzzed Up Bear – artist

Calida Garcia Rawles – painter, in collaboration with Diedrick Brackens – textile artist

Greg Ruth – artist

Lorna Simpson – artist

A post shared by @lornasimpson

A photo posted by on

Deborah Roberts – artist

Adam Pendleton – artist

Eric Rieger (Hot Tea) – artist


For more information, visit or follow @blklivesmatter

Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.