In need of art therapy, ESSENCE.com went about searching for visual artists who best represent what it means to be a Black woman today. Whether choosing to paint, collage or create multimedia installations, a fresh crop of African American artists like Shinique Smith
(above) are making waves in a field where, for so long, Black women were underrepresented. Collectively the works of these 10 artists have been exhibited at world-renowned institutions like the Whitney Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Studio Museum in Harlem. It is the way artists like Kara Walker
, Mickalene Thomas
and Renee Cox
stick a proverbial middle finger at perceived perceptions of Black womanhood that is most exciting. It is also the way they probe and celebrate Black women--from our beauty to our fashion--that keeps us intrigued. Check out how these female African American artists are changing the game.