AFRICOBRA™, or the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, was an artist collective founded on the south side of Chicago in 1968. The group had its roots in the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), which used art to address social and cultural challenges affecting the African American community. One of the most high profile projects OBAC accomplished was the Wall of Respect, a monumental mural painted on the side of a business in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago in 1967.
The five founders of AFRICOBRA™ were Jeff Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams. Another early collabo-rator was the artist Robert Paige, in whose home some of the early meetings of the group were hosted. Over the next few years, Nelson Stevens, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Carolyn Lawrence, Frank Smith and James Phillips joined the group.
The AFRICOBRA™ founders showed their work in a series of landmark traveling exhibitions, which attracted nationwide attention. By the time their first exhibition reached the Studio Museum in Harlem in the early 1970s, the group’s aesthetic had begun to define the look of the Black Arts Movement.
AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, Venice Biennale (official collateral exhibition), Venice, Italy
Soul Of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, The Broad, Los Angeles, CA
AFRICOBRA/Farafindugu, Afro-American Historic & Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, PA
AFRICOBRA III, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
AFRICOBRA III, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
AFRICOBRA II, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
AFRICOBRA II, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
AFRICOBRA II, Malcom X College, Chicago, IL
AFRICOBRA II, Hati Gallery, Rochester, NY
AFRICOBRA II, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
AFRICOBRA II, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
AFRICOBRA II, Langston Hughes Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Buffalo, NY
AFRICOBRA I, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
AFRICOBRA I, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
AFRICOBRA I, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Roxbury, MA
AFRICOBRA I, Black Expo, Chicago, IL
Culture Type, 05.29.2020
AfriCOBRA Artists Honored at School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2020 Virtual Commencement, Offer Advice to Graduates
After years of hard work and dedication to their crafts and curriculums, 2020 graduates are unable to experience the joy and satisfaction of gathering for ceremonies celebrating their accomplishments, due to widespread social distancing mandates …
Chicago Tribune, 03.11.2020
Chicago art heist: Fashion designer Duro Olowu raids city’s walls to create exuberant ‘Seeing Chicago’ at MCA
So many art exhibitions are precise, exacting, mixed like a bracing cocktail and meant to be taken in sips.
“Seeing Chicago,” the MCA’s new eclectic gathering of Chicago-owned art convened by London fashion designer Duro Olowu, …
The Broad Brings ‘Soul of a Nation’ Exhibition to West Coast
The Broad Museum in Los Angeles will present the West Coast debut of the acclaimed Soul of a Nation: Art In The Age of Black Power 1963-1983 exhibition. The show highlights the work of black artists created over two decades, beginning …
Best of 2018: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States (excerpt)
2. Jeffrey Gibson: This is the Day at the Wellin Museum
As Tracy Adler, the curator of Jeffrey Gibson’s This Is the Dayexhibition at the Wellin Museum said to me, Gibson could go on continuing to make …
Still the Main Attraction, Art Basel Returns to Miami Beach
There are at least a dozen noteworthy art and design fairs taking place in Miami and Miami Beach in December, but the mother of them all is Art Basel in Miami Beach. If the famous Swiss art …
artnet news, 11.27.2018
From a Judy Chicago Retrospective to a Celebration of AfriCOBRA, Here Are 11 Shows to See in Miami During Art Basel
Miami Art Week is almost here, with its fusillade of art fairs, big and small. For many art-lovers, however, the whirl of art commerce is only the excuse to head down to Miami. The bevy of …
Museum Of Contemporary Art North Miami Shines New Light On AfriCOBRA
You would need to be a serious student of modern American art to be familiar with AfriCOBRA. Fifty years after the black artist collective that defined the visual aesthetic of the Black Arts Movement of …
The New York Times , 11.08.2018
50 Years Later, Chicago Artists Are Getting Their Due
Chicago — “Stop the murder of brothers and sisters.” “Liberate our nation.” “Unite.” The exhortations, on the vibrantly colored canvas of Gerald Williams’s “Messages,” couldn’t be more timely. Yet it is nearly 50 years old, …
Miami’s MOCA Presents Chicago-Based AfriCOBRA Collective During Art Basel Miami Beach 2018
In celebration of Art Basel Miami Beach 2018, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) will present a groundbreaking exhibition celebrating the Chicago-based AfriCOBRA collective, in conjunction with the group’s 50th anniversary. AfriCOBRA will be on display at …
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, …