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
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artnet news, 11.27.2018
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The New York Times , 11.08.2018
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The New York Times , 09.13.2018
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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, …