Speak Up is gal-dem’s illustration exhibition highlighting the importance of visual storytelling

Illustration by Hannah Buckman

Can art even be art if you’re not trying to communicate a message? Over the years gal-dem has built illustration into the visual language of the site, with artwork playing just as vital a role as our urgent and relatable stories.

As a part of Rich Mix’s Be Bold. Be Heard season we’re exhibiting commissioned art works from gal-dem’s archive from our frequent illustrators for a show entitled Speak Up. On display will be the works of Hannah Buckman, a Camberwell College of Arts graduate and freelance illustrator who has teamed up with gal-dem online to illustrate stories surrounding women of colour’s experiences either examining those that suffer with body dysmorphia, or unpacking the legacy of Missy Elliott.

Joining her is multi-disciplinary artist Michelle Wong, whose riotous works have set the style for urgent current affairs column Race Review, and explored issues surrounding culture and sexuality while blending photography, illustration and animation. And, Charlotte Edey, who weaves tapestries and draws pastel creations notably the Grenfell and self-acceptance dreamscapes that bookended our second print issue.

Naomi Gennery, a Bristol-based designer who is also on display, said that the motive that underpins her art is trying to show that “by being yourself you are speaking up”. She continued: “I like my work to tell a story even if it’s just about being a women of colour taking up space being confident enough to say yeah I am here and I am meant to be here.”

Speak Up will run from May 2 to June 1 at Rich Mix, London.

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