Friday, July 5, 2013

AFRICOBRA at the University of Chicago Logan Center: Black History in Kool-Aid Colors

As an alumna of The University of Chicago who studied art while I was there, I cannot praise my alma mater enough for finally making a real investment in its art departments. Last year I had the opportunity to visit The Logan Center during the grand opening weekend. I went back again to see the opening of an exciting new exhibit: the AFRICOBRA show.

AFRICOBRA is a really cool acronym for African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, a revolutionary group of Black artists in the 1960s. Their work is political, provocative, and engaging. They used bright "Kool-Aid colors" in much of their work, drawing attention to them and adding a sense of excitement. And as you will see in the photos below, the gallery walls were painted in hues that echo the intensity of the ones found in the artwork.

During the opening reception, several of the AFRICOBRA artists spoke about their work. One of them exhorted those of us who are emerging artists to create work that has a message and not just focus on aesthetics and beauty. And I agree with him on that. What I love about the work in the AFRICOBRA show is that it both beautiful and meaningful.

The show at the Logan Center is part of a larger, three part exhibition. Work from AFRICOBRA is also on view at the South Side Community Art Center until July 7th. Another portion of the collection will be shown at the DuSable Museum of African American History from July 26th through September 29th.
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