5 Black Contemporary Artists Worth Following on Instagram

There are millions and millions of Instagram posts that are hashtagged #art. While there are many recognized artists out there, have you spotted any Black contemporary artists recently?

Black Artists to Follow on IG

Artist Hank Willis Thomas’ public artwork - “Unity” - displayed in Downtown Brooklyn and inspiring many artists
After the death of George Floyd, many Black artists took to their social media platforms, like Instagram, to showcase some of their powerful artwork. This includes Hank Willis Thomas, one of Beyoncé’s favorite artists, who shared his artwork featuring hands in every shade lifted into the air. Thomas is only one of the numerous Black contemporary artists on Instagram. Here are 5 of the ones you should follow.

1. Kehinde Wiley – @kehindewiley

Artist Kehinde Wiley reveals his custom portrait of President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Kehinde Wiley is one of the most famous as he was commissioned in 2018 to paint a portrait of 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama. He used bright colors and modern imagery to create his piece, which is now on display in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

2. Kara Walker – @kara_walker_official

Artist Kara Walker's "A Subtlety" on display in an abandoned Domino Sugar Factory in New York.
One of the Black artists on IG, Kara Walker, often focuses on subjects that are commonly overlooked. Through her artwork, she addresses racial identity formation, focuses on slavery, and other modes of violence that have taken place in history. She also works with the room by hanging things on walls, cuts up paper to hang, and uses projectors.

3. Theaster Gates – @theastergates

Theaster Gates - @theastergates
Social practice installation artist, Theaster Gates, uses art that incorporates people and communities. Before he became an installation artist, Theaster Gates was a potter for 15 years. All of his artwork responds to times and places in history. Most of his installations are made using reused or previously discarded materials.

4. Lorna Simpson – @lornasimpson

Lorna Simpson - @lornasimpsonLorna Simpson was one of the Black artists to first be recognized in the art world for her text works. She would challenge stereotypical ideas when it came to history, gender, and memory. Aside from this, she’s also known for her large multi-panel photographs through which she conveys unseen sexual acts of the general public. It’s known for her to also use film to create dialogue surrounding identity and desire.

5. Derrick Adams – @derrickadamsny

Derrick Adams - @derrickadamsny
Derrick Adams is an artist that often explores drawing, sculpture, performance, and collage. However, he’s most commonly known for his layered portraits that focus on the material. His work allows Black subjects to serve as a symbol of empowerment. Derrick Adams is one of the Black artists that have their artwork speak to the power of pop culture along with the perception that it has in our lives.