For artists of the Black Arts Movement, screenprints and posters became a primary medium for creative experimentation and sharing political ideas. Displaying a diverse aesthetic vocabulary, this wall pf prints and posters samples the activist history of printmaking in this period—a rich and complex collection of creative voices.
The AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) collective had clear objectives, outlined in its manifesto, which included developing a new, identifiable African American aesthetic using images and subjects inspired by African people; promoting pride in African American Identity; and committing to a social responsible and community-oriented art.
In order to fulfill their objectives, AfriCOBRA members decided to use the poster as their main artistic medium. Easily and cheaply mass-produced, the poster was a democratic form of art that allowed the organization’s message to reach the masses. Members like co-founder Barbara Jones-Hogu used the format to address themes that related to their experiences as people of African descent, for both their group exhibitions and in designs by individual artists on more universal themes about black life.
Barbara Jones-Hogu (American, born 1938). Relate to Your Heritage, 1971. Screenprint on paper Brooklyn Museum; Gift of R.M. Atwater, Anna Wolfrom Dove, Alice Fiebiger, Joseph Fiebiger, Belle Campbell Harriss, and Emma L. Hyde, by exchange, Designated Purchase Fund, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, and Carll H. de Silver Fund, 2012.80.26. Currently in We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85