Black Lives Matter

We stand in solidarity with the Black community.

Racism is a knee on the neck. A rope around the throat. Water in the lungs. Racism cuts us off from what we need to exist—and smothers the fire in the human heart. In the office, it is the feigned smile. The silent bathroom tears. The mouth kept politely shut. On the streets, it is intimidation, violence, and death. We stand with the people of the Black community against that which would snuff them out. With them, we share our breath.

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Graphis Poster Submission

In the summer of 2020, international design publisher Graphis, Inc. invited a select group of studios to submit work for collection in Protest Posters, a publication that would highlight calls for change on a variety of important issues. We chose to make a statement against racism, in response to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers, and the protests that it sparked.

Our poster, titled “Black Is a Compliment,” is intended to change thinking by shifting perspective. It argues that Blackness should be celebrated—not hidden, feared, or erased. The purple on black color palette evokes the strength and depth of Black culture and vitality. Iconography rooted in African cultures—including references to Qabalistic sephiroth, the Yoruba pantheon, and the Kongo tradition—illustrates the paths and decisions that each of us encounter during our lives.

This rich visual storytelling was made possible by the efforts of Black cultural workers. Over years of adapting their traditional cultures to a changing world, they created a new, syncretic religious practice. To express and share these principles, they redesigned a compressed version of traditional pictorial Nsibidi writing into hieroglyphic signatures for specific spirits. These spirits, each representing a force of nature, can be seen as stepping stones that allow congress between waking and dreaming. They are: the tornado; the trees of the forest; the mountain; thunder and lightning; the crossroads; the river; and the ocean. The pillars signify the essence of spiritual discipline—the forces of severity are counterbalanced by the forces of mercy, creating equilibrium in the middle axis, which represents the true Self.

Please visit the Graphis website to see our submission—and the other important works from participating studios.

Get The Posters

As part of our process, we created two visual approaches; only one could be submitted for publication, but we are fond of both.

Please fill out the form below to download full-size PDF files of both posters.

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