Lift Every Voice by Melisa Kerr

Day 26 — Poster posted on February 25, 2023

Melisa Kerr

Located: Portmore, Jamaica

Tell us about yourself:

Born and raised in the beautiful island of Jamaica, I have always been fascinated by exploring the visual arts. My pieces are mostly influenced by the tropical environment and the warm people of Jamaica. I specialise in visual development and illustration, however, my artistic skills allow me to venture in other areas such as character design and motion graphics.

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

My inspiration mainly came from a line from the song ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ which says, “Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us, facing the rising sun of our new day begun…” I portray these elements by implementing a glowing face and music sheets from the actual song in the piece. I added the flowers in the woman’s hair to represent growth and resilience as well.

Why do you love being creative?

I love being creative because it allows me to have a sense of mental freedom. Being creative gives me joy simply by encouraging fun in my life. Life can be very dull and dreary at times, so being able to be creative takes my mind off of the troubles and aids me to find solutions too.

How can we create a more inclusive design world and ensure that Black people are represented?

I believe that we live in a society where black people unfortunately tend to be left behind or forgotten, especially in creative spaces. Therefore, we as a people need to band together for better representation. I live in a country where ‘links’ or networking aid greatly in one’s success. We need to seek mentors, find ourselves in spaces that we can be more visible, recognise our own talents, and aid those who lack self motivation/self actualisation. We are bigger when we are together.

In general… How can we make more equity or equality for us?

We start at ourselves and recognise the talents and creativity we possess. Sometimes I fall victim to not believing in myself because I compare myself a lot with other persons who are in a different chapter in their lives. The next thing is to ensure that information and resources about the industry are more accessible (especially the business side of design, mentorship programmes for youth, etc.). We also need more gatekeepers and allies within the creative industry who genuinely want to see our stories be told.

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