Africobra Experimental Art toward a School of Thought

Wadsworth A. Jarrell

Formed on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 at the height of the civil rights, Black power, and Black arts movements, the AFRICOBRA collective created a new artistic visual language rooted in the culture of Chicago's black neighborhoods. The collective's aesthetics, especially the use of vibrant color, capture the rhythmic dynamism of black culture and social life. In AFRICOBRA, painter, photographer, and collective cofounder Wadsworth A. Jarrell tells the definitive story of the group's creation, history, and artistic and political principles. From accounts of the painting of the groundbreaking Wall of Respect mural and conversations among group members to documentation of AFRICOBRA's exhibits in Chicago, New York, and Boston, Jarrell outlines how the collective challenged white conceptions of art by developing an artistic philosophy and approach wholly divested from Western practices. Featuring nearly 100 color images of artworks, exhibition ephemera, and photographs, this book is at once a sourcebook history of AFRICOBRA and the story of visionary artists who rejected the white art establishment in order to create uplifting art for all Black people.



  • $29.95 paper, 9781478000563
  • $109.95 cloth, 9781478000426
  • $29.95 ebook
  • 320 pages
  • 89 color illus., 7 x 10 in.

about the author


Wadsworth A. Jarrell is a cofounder of AFRICOBRA and a visual artist who has taught art at Howard University, the University of Georgia, and Spelman College. Living and working in Cleveland, Jarrell continues to explore contemporary African American experiences through his paintings, sculptures, and prints. His work is found in the collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, High Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the University of Delaware