AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) is an African American artist collective formed in Chicago in 1968. The five founding members of the group were Jeff Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams. Other early members who joined in the late 1960s and 1970s included Nelson Stevens, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Carolyn Lawrence, Frank Smith and James Phillips. AfriCOBRA artists were associated with the Black Arts Movement in America, a movement that began in the mid 1960s and that celebrated culturally specific expressions of the contemporary Black community in the realms of literature, theater, dance and the visual arts. When the group originally formed in 1968, they called themselves the Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists (COBRA). By early 1970, as the group prepared for its first major exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem, they were calling themselves the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA). The creators wanted the works to be accessible, so they made poster art that was designed for mass production. AfriCOBRA, worked to make African American art a community effort. Much of the visual aesthetic of these works are focused on social, political, and economical conditions related to Black Americans. They created a manifesto entitled, “Ten in Search of a Nation” in 1969.
Soul Of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, The Broad, Los Angeles, CA (upcoming)
AfriCOBRA/Farafindugu, Afro-American Historic & Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Afri-COBRA III, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Afri-COBRA III, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Afri-COBRA II, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Afri-COBRA II, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Afri-COBRA II, Malcom X College, Chicago, IL
Afri-COBRA II, Hati Gallery, Rochester, NY
Afri-COBRA II, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Afri-COBRA II, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Afri-COBRA II, Langston Hughes Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Buffalo, NY
Afri-COBRA I, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Afri-COBRA I, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Afri-COBRA I, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Roxbury, MA
Afri-COBRA I, Black Expo, Chicago, IL
Chicago Sun Times, 09.14.2018
‘Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side’ sheds light on overlooked art, design
With an ambitious, variegated series of exhibitions, publications, and programs, Art Design Chicago has dominated the city’s 2018 visual-arts scene.
Spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, it is designed to spotlight aspects of the …
The New York Times , 09.13.2018
Radiant and Radical: 20 Years of Defining the Soul of Black Art
It will be a happy day when racial harmony rules in this land. But that day’s not coming any time soon. Who could have guessed in the 1960s, when civil rights became law, that a …
New City , 09.06.2018
Chicago and the Age of Black Power: An Interview with AfriCOBRA Founding Member Gerald Williams
It was 1968 when a handful of artists working in a wide range of media—photography, painting, textile design, sculpture, printmaking and so on—were brought together by their shared identity and their love for their art, …