‘Representation matters’ – Why a Nigerian medical illustrator’s drawing of a Black foetus went viral

Francis Akhalbey December 07, 2021
A medical student's illustration of a Black foetus triggered a conversation about racial diversity in medicine -- Illustration by Chidiebere Ibe

An illustration of a Black foetus that was shared on social media triggered a conversation on racial diversity in medicine as many people said that was the first time they had ever seen such an image.

According to Glamour, the image was drawn by a Nigerian, Chidiebere Ibe, who is a medical student and illustrator. The drawing was recently shared by a Twitter user with the name @Liyahsworld_xo. “I’ve literally never seen a black foetus illustrated, ever. This is amazing @ebereillustrate,” the user wrote.

The illustration, which subsequently went viral, has been retweeted over 50,000 times. Over 4,000 users have also commented on it. Ibe had initially shared his illustration with the caption, “I’m black and black is beautiful! Diversity in Medical Illustration More of this should be encouraged!”

Users who responded to the image commended Ibe for his illustration and also touched on why it’s indispensable to have racial diversity in the field of medicine.

“I’ve had two kids and did a module on human development at university and never in my life have I seen a black foetus illustrated,” a user commented. “That needs to change!”

Another user also shared, “I never realized…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Black foetus illustration in books either.”

“Thank you for this @ebereillustrate. Being pregnant, I’ve become aware of the lack of representation of black pregnancies on apps and many social media pages. It’s sad this is the first time I’ve seen an illustration of a black foetus. Representation matters,” a user also added.

“Can you recall a time when you’ve seen a non-white foetus?” @aus_harmony asked. “Black skin is completely under represented in the medical profession. The bias towards imagery of white & lighter skin tones has huge implications within medical training & the diagnosis of conditions for Black people.”

A GoFundMe has since been set up for Ibe to help raise funds to support him in his “journey as a medical illustrator and a future pediatric neurosurgeon.” Over £24,000 (about $31,000) has so far been raised, surpassing the £15,402 ($20,372) goal.

Take a look at more reactions to the illustration below:

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 7, 2021


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