Senior Thesis Exhibitions (Spring 2021) > Devaughn McDonald

Artist Statement

Learning about historical black figures who have made tremendous sacrifices and advancements for society and black life has always been important to me. There is a deep feeling of pride
whenever I am reminded of the ways black people overcame various forms of hate in order to make life better for themselves and those around them. One reoccurring thought that has always entered my mind is that even with the progress we have made in terms of racism and injustice, these issues are still relevant and take on many forms. When considering ways in which I can continue to “fight the good fight,” I often look back at some of the people who came before us,
as they have battled much of the same issues we go through today.
We stand on the shoulders of those who paved the way for us. Whether through the arts, protest, education, or politics, the black figures depicted in this series all can be viewed as guiding lights
to creating a world of equity and justice. In each piece, the figure takes up most of the space, showing their significance in history. The facial expressions reflect the attitudes and passion they
embodied. Each illustration features three quotes repeated in the background behind that specific person, which amplifies some of the words they provided when the world needed them the most and how their words still ring true today. There is a strong, personal meaning to me as a young black man, being able to honor some of the people who have inspired me to be who I am. These illustrations celebrate their contributions and explore some of the ideas we continue to navigate as we seek to demand the change we want to see.