Three Living Members of AFRICOBRA are Receiving Honorary Doctorates from SAIC

Wadsworth Jarrell with son Jerry, Jae Jarrell, and Napoleon Jones-Henderson at an AFRICOBRA meeting, 1968, Chicago, IL. Courtesy of Gerald Williams

Via PR 

The three living co-founders of AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)—are receiving honorary doctorates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, official collateral exhibition of the 2019 edition of La Biennale di Venezia, installed at Ca’ Faccanon, Venice, Italy 

Kavi Gupta congratulates Gerald Williams, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Jae Jarrell—the three living co-founders of AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)—for their receipt of honorary doctorates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, "for their extraordinary contributions to culture."

Jae Jarrell working on Ornaments of Reflection for the Toronto Biennial, 2019, Cleveland, OH. 

This honor comes on the one-year anniversary of the opening of AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, an award-winning, official collateral exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale. Organized and sponsored by Kavi Gupta, bardoLA, and MOCA North Miami, and curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D., AFRICOBRA: Nation Time was noted as a highlight of the Biennale by numerous press outlets and further enshrined AFRICOBRA as a crucial voice in the international artistic landscape. Installed in the gothic palazzo Ca’ Faccanon, the exhibition featured both classic and recent works by the artists of AFRICOBRA, including some pieces which had not been displayed publicly since their original showings with the group in the 1970s. Accompanied by extensive historical material to contextualize the state of 1960s America, and Chicago specifically, the exhibition now stands as a definitive exploration of the group’s legendary history. 

Wadsworth Jarrell in his studio, 2019, Cleveland, OH.

Founded in 1968 on the South Side of Chicago, AFRICOBRA was on the vanguard of the global Black Arts. Rather than focusing on violent revolution, they focused on nurturing a revolutionary cultural spirit distilling the intertextual aspect of their visual environment into an aesthetic position that was unmistakably current, and unmistakably connected to the African diaspora. Soon, the group was joined by five more members: Napoleon Jones Henderson, Nelson Stevens, Sherman Beck, Omar Lama, and Carolyn Mims Lawrence. 

Gerald Williams in front of his work at the opening for The Time is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago's South Side atthe Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 2018, Chicago, IL. 

Congratulations, AFRICOBRA, for everything you have accomplished. We celebrate the far-reaching impact your philosophical and aesthetic positions continue to have on our culture—the story of AFRICOBRA has only just begun.