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Black Panther artist's work on display at Recitation Hall

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Artist Emory Douglas discusses his work.

His posters were displayed not on pristine gallery walls, but on abandoned buildings in ghettos.

His work appeared not in Time or Life, but on the iconic back page of The Black Panther newspaper, sold on street corners and college campuses across the country.

He was, according to Colette Gaiter, University of Delaware associate professor of art, "the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto, concentrating on the poor and oppressed maintaining poor people's dignity while graphically illustrating harsh situations."

Emory Douglas, renowned artist and former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from the 1960s into the early 1980s, has been called "the most prolific and persistent graphic agitator in the American Black Power movements," and for the next month, his artwork will remain on display at Recitation Hall.

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Design students learn about the work of artist Emory Douglas during a session in Recitation Hall.

Douglas visited campus last week as part of the "Art of Liberation" series, delivering a lecture that can be viewed online, speaking to current students and displaying his work. Reprints will be available for purchase after the exhibit closes, with nothing priced more than $20 ("I want my work to be accessible to the community," he explained).

"Activist art is a way to communicate," he said, addressing more than two dozen students who had come to a viewing of his art at Recitation Hall. "As visual communicators, part of our job is persuasion: using images to get people to think differently."

Some of those images currently on display include his activist artwork from the 1960s, as well as contemporary pieces, such as the word "peace," shattered by bullets, and an image of two gang members with the caption, "endangered species."

In addition to his work on the paper as minister of culture for the party, which disbanded in 1982, Douglas organized fundraisers with performers like Carlos Santana and the Grateful Dead. With his current work, he hopes to inspire a younger generation.

"[Displaying the art on campus] exposes young people to a perspective they may not have seen before and shows the diversity of how art can be used," he said.

To purchase Douglas' work, contact Colette Gaiter at cgaiter@udel.edu. Signed copies of the monograph, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, can be purchased for $35 in the Art Department office, 104 Recitation Hall.

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Emory Douglas, renowned artist and former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from the 1960s into the early 1980s, has been called "the most prolific and persistent graphic agitator in the American Black Power movements," and for the next mont
10/27/2011
 
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