Launched this past summer, the Black Artists Fund has already disbursed two rounds of grants, with more contributions and camaraderie planned for 2021. In this series, we introduce some of the BAF recipients. For more about the BAF grants, go here.
She’s played with paint and color since she was a little girl, and now artist Aliyah Sidqe says she holds onto that childlike spirit while she teaches art classes to students through Zoom. For the past two years, she’s taught art at several elementary schools and recently completed a two-story mural at Washington Elementary with her grant from the Black Artists Fund.
“The kids at Washington Elementary gave me their input. They wanted the mural to represent strength, empowerment, Black Lives Matter, and to keep a spirit of moving forward,” she says.
In shades of calming blue, Sidqe painted a Black girl meditating, a scene inspired by the yoga classes the kids take during school. Sidqe hopes the mural encourages her students to heal.
“I think art captures moments in time,” she says. “I’m just kind of going with the flow, which I’m OK with. But I definitely want to continue with murals, because I feel like it’s the most impactful right now.”
Her goal for 2021 is to paint five murals that resonate with people and evoke some form of emotion, especially during a time when art exhibits are so scarce.
“I want people to be moved in one way or another, whether that’s being happy, maybe tapping into sadness, or just feeling something,” she says. “I think that’s important. Also, just to empower people to be their authentic selves and embrace themselves is always a goal for me, especially for the kids.”