Unveiled for Martin Luther King Jr Day, the Pioneers of the Past collaboration is part of the brand’s partnership with North Face as well as a wider celebration of Black representation in art.
A Vibe Called Tech – set up by Charlene Prempeh to explore the intersection of Black creativity, culture and innovation – brought together Alayo Akinkugbe, founder of Instagram account @ablackhistoryofart, visual researcher Theophilus Imani, Black Archives founder Renata Cherlise and curator and art historian Osei Bonsu for the portrait series. Each of them created their own images, which were then reinterpreted by collage artist Jazz Grant.
“Black figures from history are often erased from storytelling – we are underrepresented in education, media and all-round general knowledge of the past,” says Lewis Gilbert, creative director at A Vibe Called Tech. “Each contributor has helped to educate and inspire countless amounts of people with their work, whilst shining a light on those often overlooked or purposefully hidden from mainstream media.”
As part of the project, Gucci also worked with the Stance Podcast to record conversations with each of them, discussing the changing nature of Black representation in art and society.