Meme, often regarded as a cultural analogues often spreads from person to person acting as a unit for carrying cultural ideas and practices through writing, gestures or any imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.
Over the past few years, meme has become one of the most prominent form of visual culture.
With social media in this age, a picture of a crying Michael Jordan (a popular meme) can say more than a thousand words.
Little wonder, memes are now getting artistic attention, thanks to artist, Yesterday Nite aka Alim Smith, a painter. Smith's latest series of paintings feature the most iconic memes of recent history as seen through what he describes as his "Afro surrealist" style.
Smith has taken the internet by storm by using the artistic inspiration of memes to take them to hilarious new heights.
“Memes express a million ideas with a single image. In a way, they are a step above icons in terms of their symbolism,” Smith reveals. “Black people made memes important. We are such an expressive people. Our facial expressions and body language communicate so much, and I think that is why we create and share memes at such a viral rate. Memes are a sort of language for us or a way for us to catalogue and, maybe epigraph our unique cultural experiences. I wanted to pay homage to that meme and others that have brought so much laughter and entertainment.”
"I was inspired to paint memes as they, by themselves, represent a powerful form of art. Powerful, because they are a connector for millions who use the internet each and every day. It's a visual representation of contemporary culture, and specifically black culture, as it exists in social media."
Smith began posting the paintings in February for Black History Month to celebrate "something that has become an incredible part of black culture: MEMES."