Local artist and activist Heather Haynes is one of only 15 artists from around the world participating in Movement: Art for Social Change, an annual juried exhibition that celebrates artists as champions of positive social change.
Featured artworks, responding to the theme of racial justice and equity, were selected by a panel of jurors composed of Aaron Bryant, Adenrele Sonariwo, Dexter Wimberly and Nancee Lyons, according to a press release from The Art of Courage.
In 2018, Haynes created the Canadian non-profit, The Art of Courage, a platform for storytelling through art to create awareness, educate, advocate, and raise funds to change lives. The Art of Courage fundraises for the Tchukudu Kids Home, Jonathan Holiday School and various projects geared at helping the most vulnerable women and children in the surrounding communities of the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Haynes’ piece, Universal Language, was projected onto a building in the Black Lives Matter Plaza Northwest, Washington, DC on Thursday, May 13, 2021, along with pieces from the other artists chosen to participate in this exhibition. This art show will be projected in Atlanta on May 20, Los Angeles on May 27, Chicago on June 3, and New York City on June 14.
An auction of the selected artworks will take place on Thursday, May 20, 2021, through Pitroda Art, in partnership with Mastercard on its Priceless.com platform, closing on Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2021, with a portion of the purchase price donated to the National Urban League.
In addition to Heather Haynes, the artists include Antoine Williams (USA), Àsìkò (UK), Kadiejra O’Neal (Barbados), Lloyd Foster (USA), Mark Wilson (USA) and Paola Zarate (USA), Nombuso Dowelani (South Africa), Paul Ogunlesi (Nigeria), Penda Diakité (USA-Mali), Rohan Patrick (USA), Segun Aiyesan(Nigeria), Tim Davis (USA), Tsoku Maela (South Africa), and Winfred Nana Amoah (Ghana).
In 2020, Pitroda Art invited artists around the world to submit two-dimensional artworks tackling racial justice. According to The Art of Courage, the result was overwhelming: over 500 entries from 175 artists in 33 countries, and an array of powerful narratives and interpretations of Black history, racial identity, and the current realities of the Black diaspora.
“It was an honour to be selected for this exhibit and to be a part of this group of artists,” said Haynes. “Environmental, human rights and social issues have needed our full attention for years. Now, with the global pandemic, there is a call for action that is stronger than ever before.”
Haynes is showing Universal Language, a mixed media on canvas depicting one of the oldest Mbuti (Pygmy) couples on Idjwi Island Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mbuti (Pygmy) peoples have been subjected to the most impactful combination of colonialism, exploitation, systematic discrimination, disenfranchisement, and marginalization, Haynes express. Because of this, their rich history has been replaced with conditions of extreme poverty. Idjwi has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world and a life expectancy of just 25 years. However, against all odds, their love carries them through.
“Twelve years ago I made a commitment to use my art platform to tell stories about some of the world’s most invisible and marginalized people,” Haynes shared. “This opportunity is a dream come true.”