I feel like because of the way America’s education system is structured the only Black Arts Movement we learn about is the Harlem Renaissance and then maybe Romare Bearden. Let’s change that today. Meet the artists of AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists): Jeff Donaldson, Gerald Williams, Wadsworth Jarrell, Elaine Jae Jarrell, and Barbara Jones-Hogu. 2010 marks the 42nd year since the birth of AfriCOBRA in Chicago. Created in the late 1960’s, AfriCOBRA aimed to capture aspects of “blackness” and that of African-American consciousness. All of the art in this movement offers an explosion ofvibrant colors and hidden elements that really requires more than a cursory glance. AfriCOBRA embraced concept of “shine”, the sense of uniting spiritual quality that almost looked like religious relics–afros become halos within the representations.
“We came to the realization that there was not the existence of a consistent, unequivocal, uniquely Black aesthetic in visual arts as there was in other disciplines, notably music and dance.” -Gerald Williams
Liberation Soldiers, 1972
Members of AfriCOBRA
Work to Unify the African People, 1973
Sister Soul, 1972
Let old light shine anew.