Growth, Rest, Play by Sarah Kanu

Sarah Kanu is a Brooklyn, N.Y., based artist whose passion for printmaking and collage is evident in her detailed, vibrant and intimate work. Kanu was invited to TIMEPieces by Tim O’Brien.

Artist Statement

Title: Growth, Rest, Play

With this collage, I wish to pay tribute and express gratitude for all the Black artists, caregivers, and community workers actively building the better future we/I speak of here. Creating a world where all peoples are freed, where we do not rely on consistent labor to ensure we maintain a living on this planet. It is a world of abundant joy, understanding, compassion, and care.

The three central panels of this piece represent growth, rest, and play, themes that are most present in the work I create for myself—full of depictions of nature and the outdoors, Black ease, and mundane beauty and collectivity.

The overall composition surrounded by patterns akin to a quilt references artists such as Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and other current fine artists I admire who speak to the tradition of recalling and archiving history through craft and passing on knowledge to future generations.

About the Artist

Sarah Kanu (she/they) is an illustrator and fine artist. She was born and raised in Kiikaapoi, Caddo, Wichita, and Comanche land (Dallas, Texas); Abuja, Nigeria; and studied on Lenapehoking land (Brooklyn, New York).

Passionate about printmaking and collage (with digital aid when needed), they create graphic, raw and textured illustrations that bring ideas driven by social concepts & non-fiction narratives to life—highlighting how her chosen medium’s spontaneity serves as a reclamation of time and process in a hyper-result focused society.

They utilize illustration and design to touch on culture, identity, and world events, while intentionally depicting black joy and nature. Showing that the art of Black creatives need not be solely an articulation of a political or social stance to represent her and her Blackness.

View on OpenSea here.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at