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Responding to the events of 2020, a collective of mature Black women artists were compelled to create work that transcended and transformed the traumatic events of 2020. Together they began a collaborative artist book project, started in September of 2020 and finished in May of 2021.

These artists came together on this project, each tasked with creating a unique artist’s book with space for the other eight artists to express their views. Once a month over a period of nine months they would contribute to another artist’s book, handing them off to the next artist in the circle every 30 days. When the books returned to their original creator for finishing, they were filled with images, text, and objects from their colleagues. Throughout the process, these women held fellowship meetings to swap books, critique the process, and document the experience in a group blog.

The resulting artist books are filled with responses, perspectives and reflections during one of the most tumultuous years in the last 100. These works are inspired by the continuous struggle for justice for BIPOC bodies, the effect of COVD-19 on the health and social welfare of marginalized people, the lack of response from the federal government, and the synergies created by socio-political grassroots movements like BLM and the election of the nation’s first BIPOC woman vice president. Artmaking became a transgressive act—their “artivism.”

Of the work, the artists write, “We understand that the narratives of white people may take precedence in the gestation of traumatic events taking place. However, we reject the attempts of white neutrality to define our realities. In transforming our trauma, we created visual narratives to document our images, our words, and our assessments of this era; a transgressive act. As seasoned Womanist artists, we have acquired skills over decades sharpened by profound life experiences.”

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