AN12: 12 Standout Emerging Artists

Dec 16, 2020 / ARTNOIR

ARTNOIR was founded in 2013 as a global creative collective, with a mission to connect and nurture the next generation of Black and brown artists, collectors, and curators of color. This year we are proud to launch AN12, an annual spotlight on twelve emerging artists who are inspiring our community, and the world, to rethink and reimagine Black and Brown narratives.

This dynamic list of creatives represent some of the brightest Black and Brown voices of their generation. Their rituals of creation, with visibility and care, was healing and provided a hope for a better future, a lens that we are proud to share with our community. The ARTNOIR family takes pride in elevating the inaugural AN12 artists at the turn of the year, and with continued development and support . In the upcoming year, we remain committed to fostering these relationships and bringing our community more opportunities to engage with these stellar artists — their studios, their practices, their work, and their collections. Our focus is on designing a future where greatness is realized, and wellness is centered.

This year’s selected artists hail from three continents and represent a diverse range of perspectives from across the African Diaspora. Many of the artists, like Greg Breda, have significant bodies of work from longstanding careers as professional artists. Others, like February James, are emerging artists who are fervently working to develop their practice. Each of the selected artists including Aya Brown, Joy Labinjo, Patrick Quarm, Cassi Namoda, Ludovic Nkoth, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Dario Calmese, Jammie Holmes, Greg Breda, February James, Nate Lewis, and Tiffany Alfonseca, consistently create fresh, challenging, and deeply affirming works. Their commitment to elevating their respective communities, left a powerful impression on our hearts and minds.

Artist reviews were conducted by the seven founders of ARTNOIR: Larry Ossei-Mensah, Carolyn “CC” Concepcion, Danny Baez, Isis Arias, Jane Aiello, Melle Hock, and Nadia Nascimento. We also invited an external committee of artists, collectors, curators, writers, and cultural patrons to help determine the final 12 artists that would found the inaugural AN12 cohort. Each member of the external committee is an extension of the ARTNOIR family. Their critical points of view and invaluable knowledge helped us handpick a stellar selection of artists. We are grateful for our Committee’s tireless commitment to supporting Black and brown art and culture ecosystems. Committee Members include; Jon Gray, (Collector, Founder of Ghetto Gastro), Kyla McMillan, (Gallery Director, David Zwirner), Ann Binlot, (Art writer and critic), Angelik Vizcarrondo Laboy, (Curator at Museum of Arts & Design), Alexandria Smith, (Artist + Head of Painting at Royal College of Art).

Arriving at the inaugural class of AN12 from a shortlist of 40 international emerging artists with the help of the external voting committee was a challenge — and we are grateful to be surrounded by the global artist community who continue to shine a light on the healing past into a collective future. Aligning with the spirit of 2020, this selection process remained a consistent revealer; that we are amongst the interpreters of our own culture, who provide space, solace, celebration, and the mirror we need to reaffirm our collective legacy.

We are honored to share the stories and contributions of AN12, and we cannot wait to see what’s next for them in 2021.

Greg Breda, What Shall I Cry, 2020, Acrylic on vellum

Greg Breda (b. 1959, Los Angeles, CA) is a self-taught contemporary visual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His work explores the strength, resilience, and beauty of the human spirit.

Informed by media, memory, spiritual identity, and his imagination, Greg constructs realistic figurative portraits and marries them with minimal abstracted backgrounds troubling viewers to consider the illusiveness of reality. The pursuit of clarity and the possibility of spiritual illumination are prominent recurring themes. Recent exhibitions include Hei, Patron Gallery, Chicago, IL (2018); Queen: An Exhibition from the Collection of CCH Pounder, A Satellite Exhibit of Prospect 4, Xavier University Art Gallery, New Orleans, LA (2017-2018); Face To Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2017).

Greg Breda, I find it hard to say, 2019, Acrylic on vellum