Deciding to take action and change the lack of representation for African and Caribbean artists was the start of a new venture for BetterShared founder, Swakara Atwell-Bennett. After continuing frustration with the lack of diversity in art shows and at gallery exhibitions, the former graphic designer took matters into her own hands, curating a unique online art gallery and dealership specifically for artists from the African Diaspora.
A feature on the company website describes Sakwara as a long time art lover who has always been creative.
"My background is in graphic design, I studied graphics in University.. and my first job was working as a junior graphic designer in a TV branding studio which also had a gallery..", says Bennett.
“I looked at the gallery's show history and in all the shows that had been done in 20 years, there had only been a few artists of colour..”
“I wanted to fill a void in the arts by creating a platform that accurately represented black artists.”
Media platforms and gallery exhibitions are important spaces for artists exposure to large audiences, but Swakara found that most of them only offered one off spotlights and didn't truly represent or show the beauty, depth and variety that artists of the African diaspora have to offer. Before launching the platform, Swakara had used her Youtube platform to build an impressive network of art buyers, gallery owners, and more than 200 artists worldwide.
Image credit: BetterShared
"I wanted to fill a void in the arts by creating a platform that accurately represented black artists…It grew from a blog to a curated marketplace for contemporary African Art"
Four years later, Swakara continues to focus on the growth of BetterShared which also features guest curators from around the world such as Guest Curator Reem Aljeally whose work “Of Faces, Tales, and Lands” is currently showing on the website.
“Of Faces, Tales, and Lands” is a selection of contemporary artworks by established Sudanese artists. The collection combines portraiture, figuration and landscapes of the artists explorations of Sudanese social structures, traditions, cultural constructions, history and present constraints.