Exert from 'Artists partner with the state for “Your Actions Save Lives” campaign' by Bo Tefu, JUNE 9, 2021, Sacramento Observer
Four local artists celebrate their heritages and draw inspiration from their multicultural communities.
Wimbley, a renowned African American artist, uses her digital art to empower Black people to have agency in their own lives.
The Oak Park Billboard, which is part of a state-sponsored advertising campaign, features Wimbley’s husband as the model. The representation of dark-skinned Black men is important when there have been many incidents of people dying in the media.
The billboard reinforces, “This notion of a Black man living,” said Wimbley.
“It’s really important to bring humanization to the representation of Black people in media. And focus on producing an agency, and empowerment,” she said.
Wimbley’s Masking Series was inspired by the tradition of masquerade which is celebrated in many cultures across Africa. The art series features a still photo of a face with a mask modeled by her husband and a multimedia image with a mask reflecting different visuals.
“The storytelling communicates the important occurrences within the community, I was reflecting on wearing a mask within the masquerade culture and the transformative nature of both putting on a mask and wearing one,” said Wimbley.
Wimbley also wanted to humanize Black and Brown people who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The added stress of police brutality resulting in the death of African Americans nationwide also inspired Wimbley to show that Black people have agency in their own lives.
Through her art, Wimbley said that she wants Black people, “to be in a place of empowerment, versus, a space of trauma.”
“We are a part of an interconnected story and part of each other’s stories. We have agency in how we move forward, and we can write, claim, and develop what that next phase looks like,” said Wimbley.
The symbolism of the images presented on the Oak Park billboard and the digital display at Arden Fair Mall highlight different codes that have inspired social justice movements throughout the nation. On the billboard, the model is wearing a mask with coded patterns promoting vaccinations and several rings, one with Harriet Tubman.