Historical artist Lillian Young is a third-year MFA Studio Art candidate at Michigan State
University. Lillian describes herself as a painter who moonlights a printmaker and her works
depict forgotten or muted moments for Black history and the Black experience. She focuses on
lesser-known black figures, stories, and objects that are commonly known by the black communities, and wants her art to start a dialogue between people about the current racial issues faced today. Lillian works from historical documents and photos from various archives and her incorporation of text plays a large part in her practice, solidifying the actuality of the events she depicts.
Lillian has interned for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery in the summer of 2017, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery this upcoming summer 2018 and was awarded the Smithsonian Minority Award Stipend both years. Before coming to Michigan State, Lillian worked at the Kimbell Art Museum, and 2020-2021 she was selected to be a MSU Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow and was awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship. In the Summer of 2021 Lillian interned for the education department at the Art Institute of Chicago for the summer of 2021. Currently she works as an education intern for the MSU Broad Art Museum and will be starting a full time position at the Brooklyn Museum of Art as their new Family Programs Coordinator in the Summer of 2022.
History is a vast expanse of perspectives, often there are more than two sides to every story. In my artwork, I explore moments, people, and objects in Black history that aren’t well represented in historical cannon. My art often incorporates text, preferably handwritten, so that the work can connect viewers to more in-depth information surrounding specific events.
Often history may seem irrelevant but has consequences on how we understand and react to current events. The works that I create are, in a fashion, my way of journaling history and creating a cognitive timeline of American history. Utilizing different historical records, my work presents a more cohesive timeline of American history that can resonate with people from all types of backgrounds.