It’s Black History Month and what better way to celebrate than to look to some of the most badass women in the art world when dreaming up a creative baby name for the newest addition to your family? These women aren’t just totally awesome makers. They’re also passionate social activists who have created incredible paintings, sculptures, photography and crafts, several of which tear down stereotypes and challenge other forms of discrimination. Scroll on and get inspired.
1. Adrian: Adrian Piper is an award-winning conceptual artist whose work addresses issues of racism. Adrian is customarily the male spelling of the name — it’s usually Adrienne for the girls. But female Adrians in pop culture are springing up everywhere — like Adrian Lee in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
2. Amalia: Amalia Amaki, born Linda Fae Peeks, captures the lives of black women via media from everyday life (photography, quilts, buttons) as a means to redefine the lives of past and present African-American heroines, in contrast to their depictions in the mainstream media. Amalia, also spelled Amalya, is a rising alternative to Amelia.
3. Augusta: Augusta Savage was an influential sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She created a major work for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The name Augusta, often seen as an elderly relative in literature (e.g. Harry Potter), could see a revival à la cousins August and Gus.
4. Carrie: Carrie Mae Weems is a MacArthur Fellowship-winning photographer and artist whose work focuses on issues such as racism, gender issues, politics and personal identity. Carrie, a top 30 nickname name in the ’70s, has fallen out of the Top 1,000 completely.
5. Clarissa: Clarissa Sligh, the co-founder of the Coast-to-Coast National Women Artists of Color Projects, makes images combining photos and text. Clarissa is becoming a new vintage fave, with its dainty feel and solid literary credentials.
6. Ellen: Ellen Gallagher is a contemporary artist most famous for her gridded collages of magazine images exposing racial stereotypes. As for her name, everybody loves Ellen — DeGeneres, that is — but it remains to be seen if it carry over into baby name popularity. This English variation of Helen currently ranks at number 656.
7. Faith: Faith Ringgold is an African-American artist best known for her narrative quilts. Second only to Grace as an enduring virtue name, Faith peaked in 2002 at number 48 and is still in the Top 100. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban also used it for their second daughter.
8. Kara: Kara Walker rose to fame via her large paper silhouettes exploring social issues around gender, race and black history, for which she has won a MacArthur Foundation grant. Kara and Cara replaced names like Karen and Carrie in the ’80s and is still pretty popular, ranking at number 442.
9. Lorna: Lorna Simpson is a conceptual photographer whose work often confronts the underlying racism still found in American culture. Lorna, a name invented for the heroine of the novel Lorna Doone in 1869, is seen currently on Orange is the New Black, but rarely on birth certificates.
10. Meta: Meta Vaux Warick Fuller was a painter and sculptor celebrated for being the first black American artist to reflect African themes and folk tales in her work, encouraged in Paris by Rodin. The name Meta was a Top 300 name at the turn of the last century, but has seen virtually no use as a name since 1930, now heard most often as a term literally meaning “beyond.”
11. Samella: Samella Lewis is a printmaker and painter, as well as an art critic and historian whose deeply personal work draws on her own experience. A creative female variation of Samuel, Samella just might catch the ear of a few plucky baby namers.
12. Xaviera: Xaviera Simmons’s work spans photography, performance, video and sculpture. Pronounced zah-vee-AIR-ah, this name, in the current era of love for X names, might be picked up by some adventurous namers.
What do you think of these artist-inspired baby names? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know.
This post was originally published on Nameberry by Linda Rosenkrantz.
(Photo via Getty)