Emory Douglas – Revolutionary artist and Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party
Please Note: This show is only open for two weeks, so make sure you come along to view the work, and join us at the floor-talk with Curator Chris McBride, Wed 29 Jul at 12pm. This floor-talk will be followed by a shared lunch.
Emory Douglas created the visual identity for the Black Panther Party. His iconic images came to symbolise the struggles of the movement. As Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the 1980s, Douglas’ work, described as ‘Militant Chic’, featured in most issues of the newspaper The Black Panther. His work is characterised by strong graphic images of young African American men, women and children. He used the newspaper’s popularity to spur people to action, portraying the poor with empathy and as being unapologetic and ready for a fight.
Symbolising the civil unrest of the times, his images were used to illustrate the Black Panther, the party’s weekly newspaper. Over the years, the Black Panther’s “Revolutionary Artist” made countless artworks, illustrations, and cartoons, which were reproduced in the paper and distributed as prints, posters, cards and sculptures. Thanks in large part to Emory Douglas’ powerful visuals the Black Panther Party delivered a forceful message to a community ravaged by poverty, police brutality, and poor living conditions. He continues to use culture as a weapon to address social concerns in accessible ways.
“Artists have a way of instantly communicating essence,” says Douglas. “Things are made clear, almost like a language, and so art is a powerful tool to communicate with the community.”
His artwork has been displayed at the Glasgow Scotland International Art Festival, Biennale of Sydney, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among other locations. He has also collaborated with Aboriginal artist Richard Bell in Australia and Maori artist Wayne Youle and Rigo 23 at the 5th Auckland Triennial, 2013 and with Nga Rangatahi Toa at Mangere Art Centre in March 2015.
The posters were first exhibited at Mangere Arts Centre / Nga Tohu o Uenuku, Mangere 7 March-19 April 2015, visual arts programme of the Auckland Arts Festival. The posters were selected for exhibition by Emory Douglas and Chris McBride, and curated for Mangere Arts Centre by James Pinker.
Cultural Revolution: Emory Douglas / Black Panther / Revolutionary Artist
Curated for Ramp Gallery by Chris McBride
Posters courtesy of Emory Douglas