Affordable, original Black art could be your best investment

Image of Black art in home
@Oneofto25 on Instagram​​

Displaying original Black British art in your home is a wonderful way of including a unique and personal item into your space - and what's great is that it also also brings with it exciting investment potential

Black British art is gaining a prominence never seen before

It was a momentous moment -  a dark-skinned braided Black British women in her early 60s applauded and awarded for her genius at arguably the most prestigious art exhibition in the world, the Venice Biennale. This, after a lifetime of creating, making and striving for recognition in the art world. This occured just last year when Sonia Boyce finally got her flowers and won The Golden Lion at the Venice Bienalle with her installation, "Feeling Her Way" which was created using the sounds of five Black female musicians. 

This was a wonderfully bright moment in a period of many bright moments for Black and African art in recent years - from auction records for the late Nigerian artist Ben Enwomwu to an unprecedented number of museum exhibitions ranging from the Tate Britain to the Victoria & Albert Museum which celebrated Black creativity and Black cultural identity - the museums reassessing their archives and finally giving representation to the Black British creative genius that has been there all along.

Watch Sonia Boyce talking about her award winning installation

A lovely video of Sonica Boyce talking about her award winning installation 

Black Contemporary Art gives the missing perspective 

Black Contemporary art of the last fifty years has provided the missing perspective of the Black experience across Africa and the diaspora. This is in terms of reassessing the colonial experience from the African perspective, as is the milieu of Yinka Shonibare. But also is sharing new stories of what how wonderful joyous and aspirational African life is,  as depicted by the late  master photographer Seydou Keita. 

Two example of these artists work are shown below. The painting on the left is by Yinka Shonibare called La Méduse. Shonibare was inspired by the French war ship, La Méduse which was sent to Senegal in 1810 as part of the French occupation of Senegal. The story of La Méduse is an incredible one as the ship actually ended up a shipwreck with mayhem ensuing. This piece by Shonibare is wonderful example of how African art allows other, African perspectives to be shared on World History.

The photograph on the right is by Seydou Keita, a master of African  photography. I distinctly remember being at a gallery in the early 2000s where limited editions of  Seydou Keita photographs were on sale for £650. If only I made the necessary sacrifices of the time and bought one, it would have been a wonderful investment and a centrepiece for every house I lived in since. 

The question The Cornrow ask is, who are the new generation of artists, and how can we support them both through going to their exhibitions and purchasing their works.

A ship with african print sails  in a stormy sea
black and white photo of two women on a motorbike


Just twenty years ago pieces by the celebrated Black artists of the day were actually financially affordable (albeit with a overdraft or two!). Artists like Kehinde Wiley, Seydou Keita, Yinka Shonibare and Chris Ofili had works were clearly genius but the artists  had not quite gained the world  prominence they have today. Indeed, nowadays their art is beyond the reach of most of us.

However, the cycle continues and now, perhaps more than ever before, we have a golden opportunity in Black art. There are currently a number of wonderful Black artists selling their original pieces . By supporting these artists you are, what we call at Cornrow HQ,   in a win-win-win scenario, triple win because you:

  1. Acquire something beautiful for your home 
  2. Are able to support a Black artist in continuing in their creative journey (and also support a Black owned business if you purchase from The Cornrow!) and finally, 
  3. You gain investment potential as the artist's work could appreciate over time.

Here are three wonderful artists, whose original art is currently available on The Cornrow. Artists which we have cherry picked as their work give us all the thrills, just like those wonderful artists did 20 years ago ( yes we are showing our age here !) 

Green Gele by Yvadney Davis

Yvadney Davis is on The Cornrow's One to Watch list of Black British artists. She is deservedly receiving her flowers for beautiful work showcasing the British Caribbean experience - Davis has been shortlisted by the Royal Academy of Art and ING Discerning eye.

Her work is textured, dramatic and precise. Yvadney says she listens to Jazz while she paints and I think you can hear it in the work. 

Kemi and Lara first came across her on social media  and subsequently  were seeing her work at exhibitions and galleries.

We are so happy to have convinced her to list her work on The Cornrow and create this beautiful exclusive Gele illustration just for The Cornrow customers.

You can also purchase her original work on her website for between £500 and £5000.

Ladies Choice by Jasper

West African Barber shop art is a genre of its own. This art form is a wonderful example of how nothing can stifle creativity, as the artists in any community will always find a mode of self-expression. If you were an artist in urban or rural West Africa in the 1960s to 1980s - painting barber shop posters to help customers chose their latest fabulous hair style was a wonderful opportunity to express your creativity. 

We have teamed up with an artist in Ghana who is creating these wonderful pieces and doing his best so that this art form does not disappear with the rise of digital posters and social media informing hair styles.

The colours, the faces and hairstyles, the text, they all unite in these paintings to create art that is unique and joyful and worthy of a place in your home. 

Good Friday by Kenya Josiah

Have you ever seen the food you grew up with get the still life treatment? Painted in wonderful rich acrylics? You have now, thanks to this fabulous Black British artist Kenya Josiah. 

Kenya Josiah is a figurative artist who works with acrylic paint. Her work is rooted in exploring the diversity of Black womanhood and celebrating her Jamaican and Guyanese heritage.

Kenya's still life's featuring some of our favourite meals were immediately nostalgic and to see Caribbean food and Wray and Nephew rum get given the same reverence as fruit bowls and French wine bottles made us smile from ear to ear.

LIMITED EDITIONS make gallery walls pop

Another wonderful entry way into diaspora art is purchasing limited editions of an artist's works. These editions are often signed by the artist, produced on high quality giclée paper and form part of a limited edition of 20, 50 or 100 prints. 

These prints are wonderful additions to gallery walls, and framed thoughtfully, they  hold their own against original art! Although investment potential won't be as high as for originals, there is certainly still potential, alongside the other benefits of supporting Black artists - the triple win still applies!

The Cornrow supports a number of artists via their prints with a small selection shown below.

"Seeing representations of yourself, your experiences, or your dream spaces is wonderfully affirming”

Black art brings energy and identity to your living space

In the words of Michael Jackson, it doesn't matter if you are Black or White, Black-British art is a wonderful way to bring energy and reflect your identity in your living space. 

As a Black person, seeing representations of yourself and your experience, or your dream spaces is wonderfully affirming in your home, both for you and your famlly members,

If you are non-Black, supporting Black art is a wonderful way of bringing a different energy into your home, and showing that the art you appreciate doesn't just have to be a mirror of your own identity but can also be a window into another person's identity and experience. 

This is definately a great time for Black artists to get the recognition (and rewards!) they deserve. The museums and galleries need to do the work to keep the momentum going , but we as consumers and art lovees also have an important role to play in keeping these artists going. So go on, pull down that Van Gogh or Jack Vertriano print you got from that museum trip years ago and get shopping on The Cornrow and supporting!