Black Arts Movement Wabash Arts Corridor Project - Manifest 2012

The Black Arts Movement was the literary, artistic, cultural arm of the Black Power Movement.  B.A.M. addressed itself directly to the people, black communities, privileging action and audience interaction on street level away from staid proscenium stages.  It was the continuation of the work Malcolm X began, founded in 1965 by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal upon the assassination of Malcolm X.  The Black Arts Movement technically lasted from 1965-75 but the spirit and power of the Movement lives on in black arts and culture to the present day.

Inspired by the OBAC (Organization of Black American Culture) and AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) who spearheaded and created the legendary 1967 Wall of Respect mural at 43rd and Langley, Black Arts Movement students from sections 01 and 02 with adjunct professor D. Denenge Akpem created adinkra-inspired symbols and broadsides based on works by Chicago B.A.M. poets to activate the storefront/street/community in the spirit of the Wall of Respect.  Each work represents core intentions and themes of the Black Arts Movement, asking "Who is your radical?" for Critical Encounters 2011-12 "Rights, Radicals and Revolutions."


B.A.M. Section 01:  Adinkra Symbols

Each of six teams created a modern-day symbol as a group design based on traditional adinkra symbols from Ghana (commemorative and historic), personal iconography, core texts, B.A.M. intentions, and modern cultural symbols. AfriCOBRA colors and patterns were utilized in the design to highlight the visual style of the Black Arts Movement. These symbols connect to the permanent adinkra installed on the facade of the South Side Community Art Center by B.A.M. Spring 2010 for the Center's 70th Anniversary, part of a Service Learning project supported by the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) and the Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences (HHSS).

B.A.M. Section 02:  Broadsides

Each of six teams created a large-scale broadside based on a poem by a Chicago B.A.M. poet and based on an intention of the Black Arts Movement with visuals inspired by present-day iconography, B.A.M. visual artists, and AfriCOBRA.  Project development included the question "Who is your radical?" as part of the Critical Encounters 2011-12 "Rights, Radicals and Revolutions" theme.

Special thanks to Amy Mooney, Zack Furness, and the Critical Encounters "Rights, Radicals and Revolution" Taskforce.  Thanks also to Norman Alexandroff, Stephen DeSantis, the Xerox Center staff, and most especially to AREA, Inc. for the use of their window space for exhibiting these works.