BLACK PANTHER TRAVELING ART SHOW PARTNERS WITH THEASTER GATES FOR CHICAGO EXHIBITION IN HONOR OF ILLINOIS CHAPTER’S 50th ANNIVERSARY
Following groundbreaking exhibitions at American Steel Studios in Oakland and Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles, SEPIA Collective is thrilled to announce the third exhibition of ICONIC: Black Panther, at Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, IL. In recognition of one of the most influential political movements in the past century, this exhibition will be taking place in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s Illinois chapter. The heartland exhibition of ICONIC: Black Panther will feature a mix of local emerging and established artists, as well as internationally renowned artists like Emory Douglas, Dr. Samella Lewis, Rashayla Marie Brown, and Amanda Williams. The opening reception will be held November 2, 2018 from 7pm - 10pm.
Over 50 years ago, in response to racism and the aggressive marginalization of blackness in America, the Black Panther Party formed as an organization working to build equality for oppressed peoples around the world. They became catalysts for nationwide change, beginning by empowering local communities with free food programs, clinics, community newspapers, and neighborhood patrols against police brutality. Since 2016, ICONIC: Black Panther has been celebrating the legacy of the Black Panther Party in American history, interpreted through pop up group shows featuring emerging and legendary artists alike.
“The Arts Bank and Rebuild Foundation are honored to be partners for ICONIC: Black Panther,” says Arts Bank director Theaster Gates. “The legacy and impact of the Black Panthers on the South and West sides of the Chicago is part of the important history of resilience and radical self determinism, values that we cherish at the Arts Bank."
The same weekend that ICONIC: Black Panther opens, the Black Panthers in Chicago will also be kicking off a year-long community outreach campaign in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Illinois chapter, implementing each of the survival programs such as food giveaways and testing for sickle cell disease over the course of the year. Additional programming in partnership with the local Black Panther Party members over the eight week run of the exhibition will be announced as it is confirmed.
For SEPIA Collective founder Rosalind McGary, ICONIC: Black Panther is a way of cataloguing and archiving the continued legacy of this social justice and political movement. But it is also creating major impact. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of each of the exhibits goes directly to Black Panther Alumni in need. Money raised has gone toward emergency travel, help with housing, medical needs, and legal fees, and help for family members of fallen Panthers.
"The Black Panthers were phenomenal,” says McGary. “These young people created over 20 needed survival programs all while protecting their communities against predatory policing. We are fortunate to have created a vehicle like ICONIC for acknowledging their contribution to this country’s history, and for how they inspired oppressed people the world over. ICONIC: Black Panther makes room for courageous dialogue around our current circumstances, helps us learn from the successes and mistakes of our elders, and allows artists the honor of participating in caring for them now."
While produced by McGary, the Chicago exhibition of ICONIC: Black Panther is being curated by Rootwork Gallery founder Tracie D. Hall. “Curating this exhibition is my chance to give back to the Black Panther legacy some of what it has given to me,” she says. “Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, in and around Watts after the riots, the Panthers were responsible for creating much of the operating civic infrastructure at that time. Our nearest medical facility was a health clinic that had Panther origins. The free breakfast and summer lunch programs had come to us through the Panthers. The artists and writers living in the community were either Panthers or influenced by them. Since coming to Chicago, I see the same influence here. What I really wanted to do with this exhibition is to reflect on what the Panthers have contributed to our collective understanding of what a just society looks like. And in doing that it wasn’t enough that the artists selected be able to depict the Panthers’ values aesthetically. We tried to select artists who mirror those values in their own work and in the way they operate in the world.”
The Chicago exhibition of ICONIC: Black Panther will feature:
Avery R. Young
David Anthony Geary
Dr. Samella Lewis
Jesus Gonzales Flores
Rashayla Marie Brown
Walter Lobyn Hamilton
More will be announced as it is confirmed.
About Sepia Collective
SEPIA Collective is a Los Angeles based artist-run organization founded by McGary. Our focus is to engage artists, build community, and empower youth. To this end, we produce dynamic art events, projects and curricula. We work with a range of partners including cities, institutions and not-for-profit groups. We believe art is the practice of exercising the imagination and that imagination is the critical tool for creating limitless futures. Our work utilizes art to create spaces where people come together to build and imagine.
About Tracie D. Hall
Tracie D. Hall is the Founding Curator of Rootwork Gallery. Dedicated to art that centers healing and reconciliation, as well as art emerging from folk, street and indigenous cultures, Rootwork has quickly become recognized for its support of emerging artists as well as artists whose work has been under-recognized. Hall previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and now heads the Culture Program at the Joyce Foundation. A native of Los Angeles, where she directly benefited from the Black Panthers’ influence on public health and early education policy, Hall is deeply interested in the arts as a social justice and community organizing strategy.
About Stony Island Arts Bank
The Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center – and a home for Rebuild’s archives and collections. Designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and built in 1923, the bank at 68th Street and Stony Island Avenue was once a vibrant community savings and loan. By the eighties, the branch had closed and the building remained vacant and deteriorating for decades. Reopened in October 2015, the radically restored building serves as a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage – and a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history.