NELA art News, Mar 2014


March Hare Issue          Volume 1 No. 12          March 2014


Several Northeast Los Angeles artists are part of a five-city touring exhibition on the legacy of the Black Panther movement. The exhibit, “Rise: Love, Revolution and The Black Panther Part,” is on display at Art Share LA in the Arts District.

Close to 40 noted artists are participating. The depictions in the show span eras and cultures.

Contributing artists came from a variety of backgrounds and work in a variety of media.  There are pieces by Black Panther Part members and by younger artists who were born during the Panther era. The unifying message is that the work of the Black Panther Party resonates as strongly today as it did in the 1960s and 70s.

Among the Northeast L.A. contributors are J. Michael Walker, whose portraits depict Black Panthers as honored Orishas; Raoul De La Sota, whose paintings show an Olmec-influenced jaguar/panther over a modern cityscape; and Stuart Rapeport, who contributes a wood figures of 70s notables such as Joan Baez, Emory Douglas, Angela Davis, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar crowding arch-conservative educator turned senator S.S. Hayakawa at the end of a bench. 

There are also pieces by a number of other artists familiar to NELA gallery-goers, including Tito Delgado, Lili Bernard, Carolyn Castaño and Shepard Fairey.

Though they deal with subject matter that is horrifying (Delgado’s reminder of the widespread, cross-border nature of slavery; Bernard’s baby mobile of lynched dolls), all of the artists in the show ultimately present messages of hope (the iconic imagery employed by Walker, Rapeport, Fairey and many others; the blooming community garden by Castaño). Even the Klan-robed baby in Bernard’s gory mixed media piece has the potential to grow up, understand and transcend violence.

Curators for the exhibit are Lester Grant, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Rosalind McGary, and James O’Bailles, as part of RISE, a Los Angeles-based Arts Collective.

“The message of the Black Panther Party resonates today as strongly as it did at its inception,” say the curators.

“RISE: Love, Revolution and the Black Panther Party” continues through March 21 at Art Share L.A., 801 East 4th Place, Arts District/  There will be subsequent shows in Oakland, New York, Chicago, and London, featuring artists from those regions.

More photographs are posted on the NELA Art Gallery Night Facebook page.