Famous Black Artists

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Artists
 1 
Jimmy Cliff
(Singer, Actor, Music artist, Artist, Musician)
Jimmy Cliff
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint James Parish

Jimmy Cliff is best known for popularizing reggae. After beginning his music career singing at local fairs in Jamaica, he scored his first hit, Hurricane Hattie, at 14. He later sang the iconic single Hakuna Matata from The Lion King. He was also the star of the film The Harder They Come.

 2 
Patrisse Cullors
7
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
 3 
Larry D. Alexander
(Visual Artist Best Known for His Elaborate Pen-and-Ink Drawings and Crosshatching Technique)
Larry D. Alexander
4
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dermott, Arkansas, United States
 4 
Henry Ossawa Tanner
(The First African-American Painter to Gain International Acclaim)
Henry Ossawa Tanner
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: May 25, 1937
 5 
Faith Ringgold
3
Birthdate: October 8, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Harlem
 6 
Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
(Father of three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and Rahman Ali)
Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
0
Birthdate: November 11, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 8, 1990
 7 
Elizabeth Catlett
(Best known for her depictions of the Black-American experience in the 20th century)
Elizabeth Catlett
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 2, 2012
 8 
Babatunde Olatunji
(Musician, Percussionist)
Babatunde Olatunji
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ajido
Died: April 6, 2003
 9 
Kerry James Marshall
(American Artist and Professor, Known for His Paintings of Black Figures)
Kerry James Marshall
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

Kerry James Marshall is an American professor and artist renowned for his artworks and paintings of Black figures. His work has inspired and influenced contemporary artists like Hank Willis Thomas. In 2017, he was mentioned in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people. Marshall has also taught at prestigious institutions like the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

 10 
Ernie Barnes
(Artist)
Ernie Barnes
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, United States
Died: April 27, 2009
 11 
Theaster Gates
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
 12 
Charles Alston
(Painter, Sculptor, Artist, Muralist, Teacher)
Charles Alston
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charlotte
Died: April 27, 1977
 13 
Theodosia Okoh
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Effiduase, Gold Coast
Died: April 19, 2015
 14 
Lois Mailou Jones
(Painter, Educator)
Lois Mailou Jones
2
Birthdate: November 3, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston
Died: June 9, 1998
 15 
Clementine Hunter
(Folk Artist)
Clementine Hunter
2
Birthdate: 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States
Died: January 1, 1988
 16 
Horace Pippin
(Painter)
Horace Pippin
2
Birthdate: February 22, 1888
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 6, 1946
 17 
Ben Enwonwu
(Painter)
Ben Enwonwu
2
Birthdate: July 14, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria
Died: February 5, 1994
 18 
Wangechi Mutu
(Visual artist, known primarily for her painting, sculpture, film, and performance work)
Wangechi Mutu
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
 19 
Martin Puryear
(Sculptor who works in media including wood, stone, tar, and wire)
Martin Puryear
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 20 
Kwadwo Nkansah
(Ghanaian Singer and Comedian)
Kwadwo Nkansah
2
Birthdate: April 15, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kumasi, Ghana

Though he dropped out of school at standard 6, Ghanaian singer Kwadwo Nkansah, also known as Lil Win, later soared to fame as a musician, comedian, and actor. His own inability to complete his education made him establish the Great Minds International School in Ghana later.

 21 
Thornton Dial
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Emelle, Alabama
Died: January 25, 2016
 22 
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
(Former artist, writer, and journalist who contributed to Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, which chronicled cultural advancements during the Harlem Renaissance)
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
1
Birthdate: July 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Giddings, Texas, United States
Died: May 30, 1981
 23 
Jayne Cortez
1
Birthdate: May 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fort Huachuca, Arizona
Died: December 28, 2012
 24 
Palmer Hayden
1
Birthdate: January 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Widewater, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 18, 1973
 25 
Roy DeCarava
(Artist)
Roy DeCarava
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: October 27, 2009
 26 
Hale Woodruff
(American Artist Known for His Murals, Paintings, and Prints)
Hale Woodruff
1
Birthdate: August 26, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cairo, Illinois, United States
Died: September 6, 1980

Best known for his Amistad Mutiny murals, Hale Woodruff was raised singlehandedly by his working mother after his father’s death and thus took to drawing to spend time by himself. He later grew up to be a Black art icon and established the Atlanta Annuals to encourage African-American artists.

 27 
Magdalene Odundo
1
Birthdate: 1950 AD
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
 28 
Joseph Yoakum
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ash Grove, Missouri, United States
Died: December 25, 1972
 29 
Gwendolyn Knight
0
Birthdate: May 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bridgetown, Barbados
Died: February 18, 2005
 30 
Malangatana Ngwenya
1
Birthdate: June 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Portuguese Mozambique
Died: January 5, 2011
 31 
Henry Tayali
(Artist)
Henry Tayali
1
Birthdate: November 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Serenje
Died: July 22, 1987
 32 
Romuald Hazoumè
0
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Porto-Novo, Benin
 33 
Grafton Tyler Brown
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1841
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 2, 1918
 34 
Ade A. Olufeko
(Designer, technologist, and entrepreneur primarily active in Lagos)
Ade A. Olufeko
0
Birthdate: March 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
 35 
Ouattara Watts
0
Birthdate: 1957 AD
Birthplace: Ivory Coast
 36 
John Muafangejo
0
Birthdate: October 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Angola
Died: November 27, 1987
 37 
Eldzier Cortor
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: November 26, 2015
 38 
Tavares Strachan
(Conceptual artist)
Tavares Strachan
0
Birthdate: December 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
 39 
Ollie Harrington
(Cartoonist)
Ollie Harrington
1
Birthdate: February 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Valhalla, New York, United States
Died: November 2, 1995
 40 
Jim Gary
(Sculptor)
Jim Gary
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sebastian, Florida, United States
Died: January 14, 2006
 41 
Paul Ahyi
(Credited with designing of the flag of Togo)
Paul Ahyi
0
Birthdate: January 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Abomey, Benin
Died: January 4, 2010
 42 
Billie Zangewa
(Artist who hand sews silk fabrics to create collage tapestries)
Billie Zangewa
0
Birthdate: 1973 AD
Birthplace: Blantyre, Malawi
 43 
Younousse Sèye
(Artist, Actress)
Younousse Sèye
1
Birthdate: 1940 AD
Birthplace: Saint Louis, Senegal
 44 
Pen Cayetano
(Artist, Musician)
Pen Cayetano
0
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Dangriga, Belize
 45 
Meleko Mokgosi
(Artist whose work includes large-scale paintings that explore themes of colonialism, democracy, nationalism, and life in Southern Africa)
Meleko Mokgosi
0
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Francistown, Botswana
 46 
Samson Kambalu
(Artist whose well known artworks is Holy Ball, a football plastered in pages of the Bible)
Samson Kambalu
0
Birthdate: 1975 AD
Birthplace: Malawi
 47 
Denzil Forrester
0
Birthdate: 1956 AD
Birthplace: Grenada, Caribbean
 48 
Winston Branch
0
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
 49 
Ruby Bute
(Painter, Writer)
Ruby Bute
0
Birthdate: 1943 AD
Birthplace: Aruba
 50 
Iba N'Diaye
(Painter)
Iba N'Diaye
0
Birthdate: 1928 AD
Birthplace: Saint-Louis, Senegal
Died: October 5, 2008