"Black Lives Matter" street art in the parking lot of Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St.
Image by Patrick Hughes from Evanston Art Center
"Black Lives Matter" street art in the parking lot of Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St. Image by Patrick Hughes from Evanston Art Center

Local artists of color designed and painted “Black Lives Matter” scaled to 50 feet by 25 feet in the Evanston Art Center parking lot on June 27. Sholo Beverly lead the artistic direction with contributing artists Baz Cumberbatch, Blanca Cortes, David Johnson-Niari, Ziana Pearson-Muller ("Z") and Grant Rogers.

About the Artists

Ms. Beverly is an artist working in mixed media, inspired by the organic shapes in nature, and the visual stimulation of the female body and energy. She writes, “There has been a huge change in my work since Covid 19 and now the devastating injustice of George Floyd. Each piece of art represents the blood shed of the black race that continues today. I am channeling the pain and suffering of my ancestors that bare no faces to the ones that harmed them. Not being able to identify the faces takes you to the mindset of a Black person not feeling relevant enough to live or have justice   I am also taking my art to the streets to advocate for social changes on racism, with bright colors, hidden messages to observe and process.,”

Mr. Cumberbatch’s art career began in his youth when he started making and selling t-shirts using shells, leaves, bones, corals, sea fans, pieces of palm, coconut and bamboo trees in the Caribbean. In 1989, crowned South Caribbean Windsurfing Champion, he traveled the world before moving to California and then Hawaii to pursue a career in windsurfing, art and to raise a family. He creates all-natural mixed media pieces, selling them in Maui and Evanston.

Ms. Cortes is a born and raised Salvadorean, lefty, graphic designer and illustrator. Her style is bold and minimalist and she gets inspiration from cats, food history and myths.  

Mr. Johnson-Niari, currently living and working in Chicago, makes drawings, paintings and mixed media artworks. By referencing romanticism, grand-guignolesque black humour and symbolism, his drawings reference post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Ms. Pearson-Muller (“Z”) is a 21 year old queer painter/artist, born and raised in Evanston. Her love for the arts started as young as grade school and stuck with her through her high school years, but it was not until her senior year that she actually considered starting painting in a business aspect, began selling work through Facebook then moved to Instagram after she graduated in 2017.

Mr. Rogers creates art that is a reflection of the times, using media such as paint, digital, video or music to convey through his work what he is feeling. His work can be playful yet serious sometimes sad but always optimistic. He writes, “I hope it moves you in some way. Because great art provokes thought and conversation.  So, let the artist’s work speak and if you listen closely there’s a message for you to hear.”