Black Panther Artist - Emory Douglas

Black Panther Artist
By By Sidik Fofana— Contributing Critic

Emory Douglas is to the Black Panther Party what Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were to the Mexican Communist Party. As resident artist for the Black Panthers, Douglas provided visual representation of the organization’s political point of view.

He was responsible for illustrating the party’s trademark term, “pig,” which described all forms of police. The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas is a collection of the graphic artist’s drawings, the majority of which appeared in the weekly Panther newspaper, and supplements them with written commentary from Black leaders of yesterday and today.

The book starts off with a preface from Danny Glover and a foreword from Bobby Seale. Seale details Douglas’s tireless contributions to The Black Panther, which circulated more than 400,000 copies at its peak. He puts Douglas’s talent into a simple truism, “Explain to Emory your issue or problem, and before you know it, Emory has a caricature of it.”

Douglas’s art is enthralling to say the least. His Technicolor sketches depict police brutality, inner-city poverty and other forms of social anxiety under the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Though these works are relatively quiet forms of protest, there is nothing passive about Douglas’s drawings. In the midst of drawings of wizened mothers and undernourished children, Douglas attacks the U.S. imperial infrastructure with brazen images of Black soldiers with rifles pointed at the cops and oversized pigs being subjected to brutal retaliation. In one of the book’s essays entitled “Emory Douglas: A ’Good Brother,’ A ‘Bad Artist’,” Amiri Baraka writes, “That ‘homeboy’ quality of Emory’s art makes it harder to ignore, since it is not delivered with the customary art-gallery panache, these come on like drawings, straight out of the hood.”

The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas is more than just a staid memento of the volatile Civil Rights Movement or Black Power Movement. It captures the revolutionary fever that characterized that time. For young political artists of color, Douglas’s pieces serve as fine examples of channeled dissent.

Black is beautiful!

© Copyright 2006|

read more>>>>>>>>>>>>>>