AFRICOBRA
    2013 marks the forty fifth year since the beginning of AFRICOBRA in
    Chicago, Illinois.   The South and West sides of the city were alive in 1968
    with the energy of social change and political upheaval.  As was the case
    throughout the United States, the Black consciousness movement which had
    been growing for a decade, captured the imaginations of a broad spectrum of
    the population.  In the arts, Black identity and Black is beautiful were
    watchwords that bound many individuals into a collective force that began
    many journeys toward re-discovering our ancestral heritage, toward capturing
    the electricity of the present, and toward unlocking the keys to survival in the
    future.

    AFRICOBRA began very loosely in 1968 as an association of visual artists.
    We decided to commit our selves to the collective exploration, development,
    and perpetuation of an approach to image making which would reflect and
    project the moods, attitudes, and sensibilities of African Americans
    independent of the technical and aesthetic strictures of Euro-centric
    modalities.  Jeff Donaldson, who spearheaded the movement,Wadsworth
    Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and myself, Gerald Williams opened
    the lid on what we called AFRICOBRA - African Commune of Bad Relevant
    Artists.  It was an original name that came to identify our place within the
    broader context of Black art.

    Our mission was to encapsulate the quintessential features of African-
    American consciousness and world view as reflected in real time 1968 terms.  
    For months, beginning as early as 1967, we examined and talked about the
    forms of expression and images produced by previous generations of artists.  
    We came to the realization that there was not the existence of a consistent,
    unequivocal, uniquely Black aesthetic in visual arts as there was in other
    disciplines, notably music and dance. Many of our contemporary artists, at
    the time, generally said that they "were artists who happened to be black", or
    held the view that their work was expressing universal ideas or concepts that
    were not tied to such a narrow category as Black art.   The notion of an
    intrinsically Black view point, expressed in characteristically “Black ways”  
    was a relatively alien idea for the most part.  That notion begged the question
    as to whether it was possible to create a style or approach to art that at its
    core could be identified as African-American or Black notwithstanding  the
    presence of Black imagery or subject matter.  If imagery and subject matter
    were the sole criteria then the question was moot.  One could conclude,
    thereby, that Winslow Homer or any number of artists produced Black art
    when they painted Black images.  After numerous brain storming sessions
    where such topics were discussed, after test projects and critiques,  the five
    of us mapped out the core principles that became the foundation of
    AFRICOBRA.

    This website is established to further the conversation, to expand the
    knowledge, and to increase the understanding of the ideals and history of the
    AFRICOBRA.


Gerald Williams
AFRICOBRA, CO-FOUNDER
FEATURED ARTISTS