The Light From a Dark Year: Revisiting Our Favorite Artists of 2016

These artists are proof that creativity flourishes during periods of turmoil. When reality failed us, we turned to them for both inspiration and sanity in 2016.

by Broadly Staff
Jan 2 2017, 5:05pm

"Racquel Is All I Need," 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This year, Broadly interviewed an array of inspiring artists. From incarcerated members of the LGBTQ community illustrating to a refugee woman recreating images of the Iraq war, we've been honored to showcase these incredible intersectional artists.

In honor of the New Year, we've compiled some of our favorite stories that highlight artists, curators, photographers, illustrators, and other art innovators who provided some much needed creative light in what was a very dark year.

Artist Mickalene Thomas Is Bringing Black Women into the Canon

Drawing inspiration from her childhood in the 1970s as well as the full scope of Western and African art, Thomas uses painting, photography, collage, and video to demand her glamorous, assertive subjects be seen.

The Incarcerated LGBTQ People Asserting Their Humanity Through Art

In a new exhibition, prisoners ask people on the outside to envision a world where mass incarceration doesn't exist.

'I Want Every Girl to Look Powerful': The Intoxicating Photos of Hailun Ma

China-born, Brooklyn-residing photographer Hailun Ma is inspired by everything from the Chinese royal family to Cindy Sherman.

Living Art: Meet the Woman Making Sculptures With Bacteria from Her Skin

Oscar Wilde famously wrote, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." However, in artist Mellissa Fisher's "Microbial Me," the line between the two is very is hard to define.

Meet the Artist Using Superheroes to Highlight Racism

We caught up with artist Markus Prime, a graphic illustrator who is using his talents to explore issues of race, class, and representation in his new book, "B.R.U.H."

Photos of the Drama of Womanhood

Marjorie Salvaterra's black-and-white depictions of women combine glamour, humor, and the mundane to make powerful statements about the roles women are expected to play.

Curator Kimberly Drew on Black Art, Social Media, and Taking Selfies in Museums

Kimberly Drew (a.k.a. @MuseumMammy) doesn't just run the Metropolitan Museum of Art's social media—she's also the woman behind the cult Tumblr, Black Contemporary Art, and a champion of artists.

The Photographer Showing Burkinis in Objective, Abstract Light

Melina Papageorgiou's hazy, sun-soaked images from Abu Dhabi don't just challenge stereotypes about Muslim women—they also focus a critical eye on the negativity surrounding the swimwear two-piece.

Larger Than Life: Exploring the Art of Hollywood's Most Iconic Backdrops

Scenic artist Karen L. Maness discusses her coffee table book examining the backdrops from "The Wizard of Oz," "North by Northwest," and "The Sound of Music."

The Artist Painting Memories of Iraq

The singular work of Hayv Kahraman is influenced by "decorative arts" as much as recent political history—and the combination is as beautiful as it is uncomfortable.

Meet the Disabled Artists Creating a New Space for Talent in the Art World

At the Creative Growth Art Center, a professional studio for artists with physical and intellectual disabilities, men and women gather in a shared workspace filled with paint, ceramics, and endless opportunities for creativity and joy.

The Artist Painting History's Complicated Relationship to the Female Body

We talked to the painter Heidi Hahn about how she mines her emotions for her work, failure, and equality both in and beyond the art world.