Here we see a pensive looking image of Huey P. Newton. The picture shows the dichotomy of this complicated figure. He is pictured with a shotgun and a bullet belt, identifying him as someone who advocated for violent revolution if needed. Yet his gun is slung over his shoulder, indicating his willingness to also show patience and to fight in other ways besides using violence. His expression is that of a thinker and a man with great heart. Newton was murdered in 1989 by a drug addict who was trying to get free drugs from him, because he thought Newton was rich and famous. His legacy is a mixture of those who thought him a hero, and those who thought him a violent person. This picture by Wadsworth Jarrell shows the complexity of this man who contained multitudes. This drawing is one of a series of three images Wadsworth created in 1971, memorializing his respect for the Founders of the Black Panther Party: Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panther Party was founded by Newton and Seale in 1966, the year before Wadwsworth participated in the Wall of Respect.
Artist Biography Wadsworth Jarrell (b. 1929, United States) is a painter, sculptor, and co-founder of the Black Arts collective AFRICOBRA. Recent exhibitions include AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, an official collateral exhibition of the 2019 Venice Biennale, and AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, and Soul of a Nation, which originated at the Tate Modern.
Born in Albany, Georgia, Jarrell was raised on a working farm. Inspired by the art in the Saturday Evening Post, he hoped to become an illustrator. He joined the US Army after high school and became the company artist for his unit. After the army, Jarrell moved to Chicago. While working at the International Paint factory, he enrolled in night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Initially focused on design and illustration, he switched his attention to fine art after visiting various Chicago art museums. Back in Georgia, blacks had not been allowed inside museums. Seeing masterpieces for the first time in person inspired Jarrell. He enrolled full time at SAIC in 1954, and earned his BA in 1958.
Wadsworth has developed many distinct bodies of work, including sculptures inspired by the African cultural traditions, and a series of paintings dedicated to jazz musicians. A distinctive tool Wadsworth has used in some paintings is a brick laying trowel—something he learned to utilize in 1982, while creating a 300 foot mural at the headquarters of Westinghouse Electric Company. His work is widely collected, and is included in several important institutional collections, including that of the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of Africa American History and Culture, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
The artist's studio, Chicago, USA Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA
Wadsworth Jarrell & Gerald Williams: Works on Paper, 2021, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA