(American, b. 1929)
Acrylic, metal foil, cotton canvas
Overall: 120.7 x 76.2 cm (47 1/2 x 30 in.)
© Wadsworth Jarrell
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2016.268
Look closely to find the words “African Rhythm; Our Heritage” and “Black Funk; Preserve Our Music” emerging from the musicians’ heads.
Cleveland-based artist Wadsworth Jarrell became internationally known as a founder and leading figure of the artist collective AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). Formed on the south side of Chicago in 1968, AfriCOBRA was foundational to the Black Arts Movement—the aesthetic branch of the Black Power Movement that flourished in the 1960s and '70s. In Heritage, the pair of jazz musicians exuberantly playing their instruments are composed of dots of colors and letters, while phrases like "African Rhythm Our Heritage" and "Black Funk" emerge from the vibrant composition. With vivid colors, prominent use of language, collage elements, and explicit references to jazz, Heritage represents AfriCOBRA's aesthetic priorities and its celebration of Black culture.
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