Interior design

9 beautiful images of Black womanhood that challenge the luxury art world

In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, artist and curator Ruby Holland decided to create Area Noir, a digital gallery giving Black culture space in the luxury art world. Here are the gallery’s most beautiful images of Black womanhood. 

The art world has notoriously been centred around the white, rich and privileged. But things are changing. Challenging all the assumptions of the high-brow art market, Ruby Holland founded Area Noir to provide a space where people could immerse themselves in Black art, culture and voices. 

The London-based online independent gallery is a place in the luxury art industry where people can buy and discover art by exciting new emerging Black and brown artists from around the world. It displays work from 20 artists, each hand-selected by Holland, who explore feelings of identity, Afrocentrism, belonging and surrealism. 

Launched in January 2021, Holland came up with the idea for the first of its kind art initiative as anti-racist conversations surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter movement reverberated around the world.

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“There are no words to explain why it is so crucial to see our stories, our authentic art, delivered by our hands and our voices,” says Holland. “It is time we did the same without having to excuse or explain ourselves […] We deserve to be seen, heard and upheld everywhere.”

Here is a selection of some of the beautiful and moving work from Black female artists you can view and buy at Area Noir. 

Area Noir Cauris Girl Manue Ag
‘Cauris Girl’ by Manue AG
Sister Manue Ag Area Noir
‘Sister’ by Manue AG

Originally from Togo, West Africa, Manue AG is a self-taught illustrator who uses bold colour plates and distinctive line work to illustrate Black women and men. Her style is inspired by her African heritage, the modernist movement and the minimalist art style. 

The Ladies Manue Ag
‘The Ladies’ Manue AG
Attabeira German Call Me by My Name
‘Call Me by My Name’ by Attabeira German

Attabeira German is a Dominican illustrator living in Warsaw, Poland. She uses a simple one line style to create her drawings

Attabeira German Messy bun
‘Messy Bun’ by Attabeira German
‘Flor’ by Nadia Wamunyu

A well-established contemporary visual artist, Nadia Wamunyu uses charcoal on paper and coffee, inks, bleach and oil paint on canvas to create her work.  

‘Juliet’ by Nadia Wamunyu
Patti Endo - Numb Area Noir
‘Numb’ by Patti Endo

Born in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, Patti Endo’s work is influenced by African and Japanese parentage and centred around the human body.

Patti Endo - Unititled Nude- Area Noir
‘Untitled Nude’ by Patti Endo

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Images: Manue AG, Nadia Wamunyu, Attabeira German and Patti Endo, all courtesy of Area Noir