British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor has made a public statement claiming Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s music video for All the Stars, from the Black Panther soundtrack, uses her work without permission. Lina alleges the Marvel film’s creators contacted her twice asking to feature her work in the video, but she declined due to unacceptable “financial and artistic terms”, reports The New York Times.
However, the video, released in on 6 February directed by Dave Meyers & the Little Homies, features gold-on-black imagery using geometric patterns closely akin to those seen in Lina’s paintings Constellations. Lina has since sent a letter via her lawyer to Anthony Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, alleging copyright violation and “willful and egregious” infringement of her rights. It says the video features a segment at around 2:59 minutes that “incorporates not just the immediately-identifiable and unique look of her work, but also many of the specific copyrightable elements in the Constellations series of paintings, including stylised motifs of mythical animals, gilded geometric forms on a black background, and distinctively textured areas and patterns, arrayed in a grid-like arrangement of forms”.
The letter also says that Lina rejected the offer for inclusion partly because it demanded she enter into an exclusive license for the proposed artworks, “thereby forgoing all artistic control”, which conflicted with her upcoming solo exhibition at the Armory Show in New York.
In an interview with The New York Times, Lina said: “It’s an ethical issue, because what the whole film purports is that it’s about black empowerment, African excellence — that’s the whole concept of the story. And at the same time they’re stealing from African artists.”