*Meet British Ghanaian graphic artist Peniel Enchill, the woman behind the icon “Black Woman Stepping Into The New Year” artwork.
As reported by Buzzfeed, the image first appeared on the internet in 2014 and has since gone viral each year around New Year’s Eve. The artwork has “become synonymous on Black Twitter with the saying “New year, new me,” ” the outlet writes.
“I did that artwork in hours. It usually takes me a while to finish up an illustration. But I had what I like to call these days a ‘download,’ where you literally see the picture in your mind and it’s just a matter of transferring that image from your mind to the paper. I rarely get that, but that was one of them,” Enchill, 29, told BuzzFeed News.
Check out the iconic image in full below.
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Enchill initially posted the artwork to her Instagram, which was shared by her friends.
“I remember logging back into Instagram and on my main feed, not on my profile, but on my main feed, I just kept swiping and seeing the image that I’ve drawn,” she said. “So these were actual reposts from people that I follow.”
After the image was shared by larger platforms such as Shade Room, it went viral.
“All I could see was the negative. Yes, there was positive feedback, but it was clouded by a lot of negative, and I took it quite personally,” she said of the initial response from social media users.
“My brother, being my brother, was like, ‘Why are you upset? Have you seen how many followers you’ve got? Have you seen how many people have seen it? It’s all over Twitter,’” she said. “I think it took me a whole day or two to start seeing the positive sides.”
Today, Enchill has over 270,000 followers on Instagram.
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Enchill said the artwork, for her, represents going into the new year with no baggage and a positive outlook.
“I think I’m still like that,” she said. “I still enter the year exactly like the girl that I drew. Reflecting on the year before, thinking about what I’m trying to achieve in the new year.”
When it comes to her artwork overall, Black women are always central.
“My focus is particularly on the Black community, with an extra focus of Black women and uplifting, inspiring, creating art for us, by us — speaking about issues that are not really spoken about, and celebrating things that affect us directly,” she said.
Per the Buzzfeed report, Enchill owns a stationery brand that features her art and hopes to get it stocked at major retailers one day. She’s not yet sold on turning her artwork into NFTs (nonfungible tokens).
“I don’t think I’ve come to a comfortable place with that yet,” she said of NFTs. “I might just have to do one to see how I feel about it all, but I’m not 100% sold on the idea yet.”