ARTICLES

Who Ra?

Long before Jean Michel Basquiat wowed the art world with his trademark bad boy, Afro centric, sly, self effacing, emancipating paintings; before George Clinton could say “Parliament” and “Funkadelics”; before Rammellzee suited up to battle the Word; before Renee Cox flipped the script with her disturbingly beautiful photographs that de/ reconstruct the socio cultural myths stifling black females; even before Octavia Butler wrote her first sci fi story (at age 12) and all the books that eventually followed (which earned her a Macarthur genius grant); and way before house music, hip hop, and rap; there was Sun Ra…

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emotional_thumbnailBeverly McLver, widely acknowledged as an outstanding American painter, is even more remarkable for her singular path as an African American woman artist.  Her expressionist portraits take a hard look at race, gender socioeconomic disparity, and mental disabilities within the context of her own life.  Most of her paintings are self-portriats, others portray family or friends – all are painted with a ferocious emotional honesty delivered with frenetic brushwork loaded with color….

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Originally from Kenya, and now based in Brooklyn, Mutu uses her singular Afrofuturist vision to confront issues of race, colonialism, consumption, and the objectication of the black female body. Her large scale collages combine images clipped from fashion and porn magazines, medical books, hunting catalogs and machine manuals, as well as found objects, bling, and her distinctive paint splotched paper. The emotional content of these mixed media works can be overwhelming. She serves rage, female sexploitation, brutality, indulgence, and repulsion in unbearably large doses. Her work is not easy to look at; however, it’s impossible not to stare…

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