To honor the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the Photographic Center Northwest is hosting an exhibition that explores the visual language and legacy of the movement founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, two students at Laney College in Oakland, CA. Seattle was the home of the second chapter of the party. The exhibition, “All Power: Visual Legacies of the Black Panther Party” is based on a book of the same name, which was published in 2016 by Minor Matters Books. It includes images by artists who have been in some way influenced or inspired by the Panthers and the visual iconography they established. Michelle Dunn Marsh, who co-edited the book and exhibition with Negarra A. Dudumu, writes in her introduction to the book, “More than many other organizations, the Panthers understood and used the media, and the visual image, to great advantage.” The Party’s Minister of Culture, Emory Douglas, was particularly influential, Dunn Marsh notes. “Through bold illustrations, drawings, posters and The Black Panther newspaper, Douglas’ interpretation of the Party’s ideals and messages were as powerful—if not more so—than the speeches and political campaigns.”
The exhibition encompasses a variety of artistic and documentary photography. It includes images from Endia Beal’s series “Am I What You’re Looking For?”, which considers how young black women present themselves as they try to gain corporate employment; Bruce Bennet’s portraits of groups of children and teenagers in Chicago’s Bronzeville community; Ayana V. Jackson’s series “Leapfrog,” which depicts the artist assuming the roles of black women across generations and examines the way they have been caricatured and exoticized; and photographs by Robert Wade documenting black activists in the United States and abroad.
Other artists featured in the exhibition include Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Sadie Barnette, Ouidakathryn Bryson, Howard Cash, Emory Douglas, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Kris Graves, Christopher Paul Jordan, Kambui Olujimi, Lewis Watts, Carrie Mae Weems, Dr. Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas.
“All Power: Visual Legacies of The Black Panther Party”
Through June 10, 2018
Photographic Center Northwest
A History of Seattle’s African American Community
Carrie Mae Weems in the South
Ayana V. Jackson on Carrie Mae Weems and Examining Photographic History (for PDN subscribers; login required)