Revolutionary (Angela Davis)
Wadsworth A. Jarrell
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
In 1968, Wadsworth Jarrell co-founded COBRA (Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists) with his spouse, fashion designer Jae Jarrell, and artists Barbara Jones-Hogu, Jeff Donaldson, and Gerald Williams. Not only did women play central roles in the prominent Black Arts Movement collective—which would later be renamed AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)—but they were also iconic leaders in the Black Power Movement.
Here Jarrell celebrates the renowned radical activist and intellectual Angela Y. Davis, who continues to be a leader in the fight for racial, gender, and economic justice around the world. Incorporating Davis’s words, Black Power slogans, and AfriCOBRA’s signature vibrant colors, the portrait depicts the intensity and power of her activism.
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Note attached to canvas of 2012.80.18, lower center, recto:
“This is a replica of a revolutionary suit designed by Jae Jarrell in early 1969 for Africobra. 1. This suit is designed to reflect the present struggle of black people in the U.S.A.
When Chuck jumps on and bastardize it as he does everything else we do, I want you to know he stole it from black giants - Africobra.
Everytime one of our sisters wear one of Chucks stolen designs, they are helping to advertise Africobra.
This suit is not for hunkies, strickly for black people in the present revolution, with a show of force for liberation”.
Gift of R.M. Atwater, Anna Wolfrom Dove, Alice Fiebiger, Joseph Fiebiger, Belle Campbell Harriss, and Emma L. Hyde, by exchange, Designated Purchase Fund, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, and Carll H. de Silver Fund
© Wadsworth Jarrell
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Wadsworth A. Jarrell (American, born 1929). Revolutionary (Angela Davis), 1971. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 64 x 51 in. (162.6 x 129.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of R.M. Atwater, Anna Wolfrom Dove, Alice Fiebiger, Joseph Fiebiger, Belle Campbell Harriss, and Emma L. Hyde, by exchange, Designated Purchase Fund, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, and Carll H. de Silver Fund, 2012.80.18. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2012.80.18_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2012.80.18_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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