The Black Artists + Designers Guild is a thriving and growing collective of modern artists and design industry professionals throughout the African diaspora in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and more.
The designers and artists associated with the guild work in residential, commercial, and hospitality spaces, and create all kinds of products and art pieces, like textiles, ceramics, furniture, and more. Right now, the group consists of over 80 professionals. This year, more than 200 talented design industry creators from across genres are expected to compose the ever-expanding guild.
The BADG was created in November 2018 by designer, multidisciplinary artist, and entrepreneur Malene Barnett of Malene B. Her creativity was sparked when the frustrating lack of black creators became all too visible in the bespoke art and design space. After noticing there were no black experts on several design industry panels she attended, she decided to come up with a project that would foster inclusion and diversity.
“We live in a society with systemic racism—this is not a problem that is new,” Barnett told Domino. “If you look at all the comments I received [on Instagram after pointing out the design industry’s race problem], you’ll see that I’m not the only one thinking about this so that definitely confirmed to me that I had support.”
The guild’s global platform consists of a directory of talented creators around the world. This resource helps homeowners find designers and decorators, media pros get in contact with designers to features, encourages to designers commission artworks, and much more. By making it easier than ever to find diverse talent, the BADG will eliminate the tired excuses about it being difficult to find and hire black artists.
Plus, the group hopes to put modern African design elements under an international spotlight.
“When you look at modern design, it started in Africa,” Barnett shared in the interview. “The Europeans went there for inspiration and took from the art we were creating back in the day and they stylized it as their own. Then, they get the recognition that they created modern design. It’s about re-educating people about what’s real and what’s not.”
Stay tuned: House Tipster will be featuring more about Malene Barnett and more designers in the Black Artists + Designers Guild in future editorial coverage.