Presenting Barbara Jones-Hogu



    One of the preeminent print makers on the scene in Chicago in1967, Barbara Jones was
    at Robert Paige’s studio when we first met. During that period she was in the midst of
    concluding graduate study in the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology,
    working on the Wall of Respect, and exhibiting at several galleries, including the "Five in
    Search of a Black Aesthetic" show at the WJ Studio.  With titles like “Land Where My
    Father Died” or “I Am My Brother’s Keeper,” BJ’s work broke new ground in socio-
    political expression which, as a matter of fact, set a high bar for others to reach.  It was
    BJ who laid the cornerstone for one of the important elements of AFRICOBRA - the use of
    lettering or statements within, or as part of,  the composition.  She was one of the few
    artists at the time to compose works based upon African masks.

    Her stark serigraph titled Unite,”which was completed in 1969 as part of her thesis at
    the Institute of Design, captured the spirit of the age with a clarity and boldness that was
    unmatched by works of other artists during the period.  In it one senses the somber,
    dramatic stance taken by John Carlos and Tommie Smith during the medal ceremony at
    the 1968 Olympics; recollects clinched fist greetings that brothers gave one another in
    public; and once again one feels the clarion call for unity vibrating in gatherings and
    events where social and political issues were discussed.  It is carried over into a poster
    that she designed following a discussion in which we lamented the fact that January 1st
    was always celebrated as the passing of the old year with no contemplation or reflection
    upon the day New Years Day 1863 that slaves in states that had seceded from the Union
    were set free by Presidential decree.  That was before Kwanzaa caught hold and became
    widely celebrated by a lot of people.