Blackfish Gallery is proud to present the July 2020 Exhibition “Black Power is a Color.” Protest signs are graphic design. They have a message, font, hierarchy, medium, color etc. The Black Power Movement was full of graphic designs of art, power, and revolution. This show is a collaboration of three Portland-based artists: Danielle McCoy (Graphic Designer, Wieden + Kennedy*), Kareem Blair (Senior Designer, Nike*), and Christine Miller (Graphic Product Developer, Nike*). Their work takes inspiration from graphic artist Emory Douglass and painter Raymond Saunders.
Douglas was the graphic artist for the Black Panther Party and took their imagery in new directions. He is quoted as saying “Revolutionary art, like the Party, is for the whole community and deals with all its problems. It gives the people the correct picture of our struggle whereas the revolutionary ideology gives the people the correct political understanding of our struggle.” Saunders, on the other hand, had a different view on the “purpose” of “Black art” which he presents in the pamphlet titled “Black Is a Color” which he designed and published in 1967. The commentary expressed Saunders’s desire for race to be a means and not an end in his practice and that emphasis also needed to be placed on what made the Black artists works individually unique. These two juxtaposing views morphed together form “Black Power is a Color” - a timely exhibition from local industry graphic artists that displays artwork related to the current events with an emphasis on typography and color.
Blackfish Gallery stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests against racial inequity, police brutality, and systemic racism. We commit to examining our methods and practices and increasing equitable opportunities for Black artist voices at our gallery and in the community. As an actionable step, we have offered the gallery as a platform in July for these Black artists to amplify their experiences, thoughts and feelings during this urgent time calling for change. Our membership is listening and learning more about institutionalized oppression.
A virtual opening will be held on the Blackfish Facebook page @BlackfishGallery on Thursday evening July 2nd from 6pm-9pm featuring artist talks, gallery tour, live Q&A, and music with host Cedy Ced. 10% of all art sales will be donated to Y.G.B. Portland, a Pro-Black, Pro-Femme, Pro-Queer collaborative whose mission is to create spaces of joy and healing for the Black and Brown community of Portland OR. We share their belief that liberation will come from art, self-love, and community.
*This show is unaffiliated with Nike and Wieden + Kennedy. The views of the artists are their own expression.
Featured in the Backroom Gallery this month is "My Voice/Our Voice" by Mami Takahashi.
A portion of sales of these works will be donated to Reclaim the Block who organize Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
Mami Takahashi, "Seeing You/Seeing Me: Bench", Digital Photography, 16 ½” x 21” (Framed)