Black History Names: Women Artist Activists
This year we celebrate the Black history names of women fine artists whose activism is reflected in their bold paintings, sculpture, photography and crafts, several of which expose African-American stereotypes and other forms of racism. (By Linda Rosenkrantz)
Adrian Piper is an award-winning conceptual artist whose work addresses issues of racism. Adrian is customarily the male spelling of the name—it’s usually Adrienne for the girls. But female Adrians in pop culture include Adrian Lee in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and the movie wife of Rocky Balboa.
- Adrian Piper is an award-winning conceptual artist whose work addresses issues of racism. Adrian is customarily the male spelling of the name—it’s usually Adrienne for the girls. But female Adrians in pop culture include Adrian Lee in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and the movie wife of Rocky Balboa." >
- Amalia Amaki, born Linda Fae Peeks, changing her name in 1974, captures the lives of black women via media from everyday life (photography, quilts, buttons), redefining the lives of past and present African-American heroines, in contrast to their depictions in the mainstream media. Amalia is a rising alternative to Amelia, also spelled Amalya." >
- Augusta Savage was an influential sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance who created a major work for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The saint’s name Augusta, often seen as an elderly relative in literature (eg Harry Potter), could see a revival a la cousins August and Gus." >
- Carrie Mae Weems is a MacArthur Fellowship-winning photographer and artist whose work focuses on issues such as racism, gender issues, politics and personal identity. Carrie, a Top 30 nickname name in the 70s, has fallen out of the Top 1000 completely." >
- Clarissa Sligh, the co-founder of the Coast-to-Coast National Women Artists of Color Projects, makes images combining photos and text. Clarissa is becoming a new vintage fave, with its dainty feel and solid literary credentials." >
- Ellen Gallagher is a contemporary artist most famous for her gridded collages of magazine images revealing racial stereotypes. As for her name, everybody loves Ellen—DeGeneres, that is—but will that carry over into baby name popularity? This English variation of Helen is now Number 656—and 329 on Nameberry." >
- Faith Ringgold is an African-American artist best known for her narrative quilts. Second only to Grace as an enduring virtue name, Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48 and is still in the Top 100. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban used it for their second daughter." >
- Kara Walker rose to fame via her large paper silhouettes exploring social issues around gender, race and black history, for which she has won a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’. Kara and Cara replaced names like Karen and Carrie in the 80s, and Kara is still well used at Number 442." >
- Lorna Simpson is a conceptual photographer whose work often confronts the underlying racism still found in American culture. Lorna, a name invented for the heroine of the novel Lorna Doone in 1869, is seen currently on Orange is the New Black, but rarely on birth certificates." >
- Meta Vaux Warick Fuller was a painter and sculptor celebrated for being the first American black artist to reflect African themes and folk tales in her work, encouraged in Paris by Rodin. The name Meta was a Top 300 name at the turn of the last century, but has seen virtually no use as a name since 1930, now heard most often as a term literally meaning 'beyond'." >
- Samella Lewis is a printmaker and painter as well as an art critic and historian whose deeply personal work draws on her own experience. As a female variation of Samuel: Samantha, yes; Samella, probably not." >
- Xaviera Simmons’s work spans photography, performance, video and sculpture. Pronounced zah-vee-AIR-ah, this name, in the current era of love for X names, might be picked up by some adventurous namers." >
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on February 5th, 2016 at 12:00 pm
Very interesting post! As a creative person who enjoys art and culture (as well as names) I appreciate nameberry highlighting women artists. Amalia, Augusta, and Xaviara stand out to me.
12 Creative Baby Girl Names That Honor Extraordinary Black Artists | Viral Media Life Said
on February 11th, 2016 at 12:40 pm
[…] for X names, might be picked up by some adventurous namers. This post was originally published on Nameberry by Linda Rosenkrantz. (Photo via […]
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