Emory Douglas: Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Laveronica Arte Contemporanea is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a shoe by Emory Douglas, an artist involved in the Black Panther Party and who made militancy for civil rights. Inspired by iconic and symbolic imagination of liberation movements in Latin America, Asia and Africa, his works have marked the contemporary street-art culture. On the occasion of this exhibition, Douglas aims to bring together a community of local artists to contribute to the execution of some of his murals at the gallery.
In Oakland, California, in 1966, seething anger broke the chains of reform and non-violence preached by Martin Luther King Jr. and was funnelled into a revolutionary movement closer to the ideas of Malcolm X of the Black Panther Party. It proposed a broad platform of demands to be implemented in the final analysis also with force, and it advocated the use of weapons as a deterrent against abuse by the police. It is no accident that the movement chose a noble and courageous animal—the black panther—as its symbol, as it represents strength and dignity. The biographies of the party founders are quite similar. They grew up in dingy, ramshackle buildings, houses made of wood or brick where steep metal fire escapes expressed a sense of transience and flight; they had known hunger and poverty, drugs and alcohol, and a hatred for white policemen and prisons. Behind bars, they learned to study and read the books of Marcuse and Mao Zedong, the classics of economics and philosophy, the codes of civil and criminal law. Once they got out of prison, they became aware of their ideological power and became organized politically.
Emory Douglas grew up in poverty in the black slums of San Francisco and he joined the Black Panther Party in 1967 at the age of 24. He became the party’s Minister of Culture and art director of The Black Panther, the party’s official newspaper, a weekly with a circulation of thousands of copies between 1967 and 1976.
His works refer to racial topics, but also generally on the concept of empowerment, the fight against poverty, discrimination, imperialism, immigration policy.
tue, wed, thu, fri, sat 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Laveronica Arte Contemporanea, Via Clemente Grimaldi, 93