Sunday, 23 July 2017

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

© Wadsworth Jarrell 'Revolutionary 1972' Private Collection

On Saturday 22nd July, I took my family to the Tate Modern to see Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. The show opens in 1963 when the Civil Rights Movement and its dreams of integration was at its heights. Artists responded to these times with their vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights.

Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol's famous painting. This was a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America. 

It was my granddaughter's first visit to the Tate (and to an art museum) and she loved it. She will soon be 10 years old and she said going to this event made her feel 'all grown up.' 

My favourite pieces were the collages by Romare Bearden. It was startling to see the actual green front door of the Black Power Movement's offices covered in bullet holes! Striking photography included an image of just a noose hanging from a tree. Artifacts from lynchings were on display like something out of Medieval times.

Here are the artists:

The artists (71) 

There are 12 rooms holding the exhibition:

Room 1:  SPIRAL
Room 2:  ART ON THE STREETS
Room 3:  FIGURING BLACK POWER
Room 4:  LOS ANGELES ASSEMBLAGE
Room 5:  AFRICOBRA IN CHICAGO
Room 6:  THREE GRAPHIC ARTISTS, LOS ANGELES
Room 7:  EAST COAST ABSTRACTION
Room 8:  BLACK LIGHT
Room 9:  BLACK HEROES
Room 10:IMPROVISATION AND EXPERIMENTATION
Room 11:BETYE SAAR
Room 12:JUST ABOVE MIDTOWN

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power runs 
from 12 July - 22 October 2017

Friday, 7 July 2017

Benefit Cuts: Domino Effects, Stages 1, 2 and 3.





Mixed Media Collage
Theme: Social Justice 

Creative Process:

The three-staged approach of Benefit Cuts: Domino Effects 1, 2 and 3, captures the detrimental effects of my son's Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) being 'disallowed', and logs the timeline and journey towards the successful Appeal outcome. I used the actual text from the Works & Pensions paperwork, images of dominoes in specific positions, and the image of death to highlight the national issue of 90 people a month dying as a result of having their ESA benefit cut. The background acrylic colours for each piece depict bloodshed and fade from dark to light in the process of battling towards the successful Appeal. 

The medium of mixed media collage lends itself really well to develop a visual vocabulary for describing and translating my experiences; the personal and political works particularly well in this medium. Collage is both a process and a medium in which I can most naturally and effectively give voice to that creative tension.

For further behind the scenes information, the answers to the following questions are in the video below:

  • What inspired you to make this collage?
  • What was the most challenging thing about making the collage?
  • What was the most satisfying part of creating the collage?
  • What message is most important?
  • What do you want the public audience to get from the artwork?
  • What's next?


Benefit Cuts: Domino Effects...has defined me as an activist artist and I look forward to making more art in the name of social justice!


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

© Wadsworth Jarrell 'Revolutionary 1972' Private Collection On Saturday 22nd July, I took my family to the Tate Modern to see  ...