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.
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
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, …