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An artwork by the artist February James.  The artwork by February James is titled "April 29th, 1992" and is from the year 2019.

February James, April 29th, 1992, 2019

4 Curators on the Artists They're Celebrating This Black History Month

Artsy Editorial
February 20, 2020

In honor of Black History Month, we asked four curators to tell us about the artists of Africa and the African diaspora who they're most excited about now. Each curator's picks are being featured on Artsy's Instagram this month, and below, we share a selection of their insights on why they're inspired by these artists and their work. 

Larry Ossei-Mensah
Curator and Co-Founder, Artnoir

"I discovered February James's work maybe two years ago, and I was really enamored by the colors, the forms, and how she was rendering the figure. It just felt different. As a curator, I'm looking for something that makes me feel different. If it does, I begin to investigate why. 

"She's also formally a makeup artist; you think about applying makeup to a face - that takes a certain technique and touch. The works are autobiographical and represent her own experiences; they tell stories. If you look at the eyes, you can tell there's something more happening within this picture, and you try to reconcile what that is.

"I just curated her into a two-person show at Ross+Kramer Gallery, and she says she really tries to focus on the essence of a person instead of the physicalities, and I think this is something that we tend to become used to when it comes to figurative painting. But - similar to photography, where a beautiful photo really resonates with you - I think it's about capturing the essence of a moment." - Larry Ossei Mensah