The Late Genet
The Panthers and Genet
Emory Douglas, Kodwo Eshun and Lili Reynaud-Dewar. With Kobena Mercer (via Skype)
Friday 30 September
11am – 4pm
In 1970 Genet entered the US illegally to campaign alongside the Black Panthers for the release of their chairman Bobby Seale – he would later work for the release of George Jackson and Angela Davis. The Panthers and Genet shared a sense of kinship and purpose. He wrote provocatively on the position of black people in America, particularly on the Panthers’ political and poetic struggle.
By the late 1960s the Panthers were at the vanguard of what appeared to be an approaching revolution in America. They countered police brutality, represented a powerful alternative to the Civil Rights movement, and understood their struggle in the context of Third World revolution, making alliances with many other oppressed minorities.
The first half of this symposium is a rare lecture by Emory Douglas, the Panthers’ former Minister of Culture who will talk about his life and work. Douglas’ uplifting and acerbic political art helped forge the Panthers powerful imagery.
Emory Douglas was minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until its discontinuation in the early 1980’s. Douglas’s powerful visuals helped define the style of the groups newspapers, posters and pamphlets. His bold illustrations and striking images spoke forcefully to a community ravaged by poverty, police brutality and poor living conditions and portrayed a populace fighting to assert their rights to equality.
The afternoon consists of a presentation on Genet and the Panthers by Kodwo Eshun, with academic Kobena Mercer, via Skype. They will focus on the significance of the Genet / Panther interface and the cultural legacy of the Panthers.
Artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar will join a panel discussion.
Kodwo Eshun lives and work in London. He is a member of The Otolith Group, their film Nervus Rerum (2008) is screened in the current exhibition Act 2: Prisoner of Love. Eshunis the author of More Brilliant than the Sun (1998) and co-editor of the new issue of Third Text on The Militant Image.
The Otolith Group were founded in 2000. Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun are its core members. Working with media archives, histories, legacies and themes around tricontinentalism, the group use moving image, sound, text and explore curatorial practice in their work.
Kobena Mercer is a Professor or History of Art and African American Studies atYale University. He previously taught at New York University and University of California at Santa Cruz. Mercer’s writes and teaches on the visual arts of the black diaspora, examining African American, Caribbean, and Black British artists in modern and contemporary art. His books include, Welcome to the Jungle (1994), and his work features in several interdisciplinary anthologies including Art and Its Histories (1998), The Visual Culture Reader (2001) and Theorizing Diaspora (2003). Mercer is the author of monographic studies on Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien, Renee Green, and Keith Piper, as well as historical studies of James VanDer Zee, Romare Bearden, and Adrian Piper. He is the editor of the Annotating Art’s Histories series, published by MIT and INIVA.He is currently working on an essay collection, Travel & See: Writings on Black Diaspora Art.
Lili Reynaud-Dewar lives and works in France. Her newly commissioned installation appears in the current exhibition Act 2: Prisoner of Love. She has exhibited internationally, including solo shows at Bielefeld Kunstverein, Kunsthalle Basel, Mary Mary, Glasgow and has appeared in group shows including CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux and Calder Foundation, New York.
Nottingham Contemporary’s public programme is jointly funded by Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.
This event is at Nottingham Contemporary
0115 948 9750