( African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)

"Transafrican Jazz" Acrylic created and copyrighted by Jeff Donaldson. Donaldson created the term Transafricanism to refer to visual art that was derived from a variety of African esthetics whose subject matter deals with the political struggles of the people of different African countries and the African diaspora.

1. Can you see the musicians in this painting?

2. Can you see the instruments they are playing?

3. What is the meaning of all of the design elements used in this painting?

Africobra was started at the site of the "Wall of Respect" near east 47th street in Chicago during the late sixties. Its name meant African commune of bad relevant artists. It was formed to provide a visual component to the Black cultural revolution of that era. It started in Chicago and relocated its base to Howard University in Washington DC when its founder became the chairperson of Howard's Art Department. Many of its memebers were college professors in the visual arts.

The background music is, "Ole' " by John Coltrane, copyrighted to Impulse Records and his estate. His music was often associated to the spirit of Black Nationalism along with the work of Afrcobra.

They produced limited edition silk-screened prints, taught classes, campaigned for the end of the system of apartheid, and promoted the idea of Black Art being political and functional in the growth and evolution of Africanized thought worldwide. Africobra would exhibit annually with the United Nations to protest the policies of the South African government and institutionalized racism as a whole.


Napoleon Henderson, Wadsworth and Jay Jarrell, Michael Harris, Nelson Stevens, Ron Anderson, Jeff Donaldson, Frank Smith, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carol Lawrence, Murray DePillars, Omar Lama, and Sherman Beck were key members of Africobra. Ameer Nour, Lester Lashley, and Robert E. Paige along with Bill Walker were important artists who made considerable contributions to the development of this innovative movement in art.

"Unite Africa" Acrylic mural created and copyrighted 1976 by Nelson Stevens.

4. What does this painting make you feel or think about the people of Africa?

5. Do you think this is a painting that should be in a museum? Explain why.

6. Why would a curator review, critique, or collect this painting?

7. What do you think of a painting that contains words?

"The Wall of Respect", 1967: This mural was the flash point of the Black Cultural Nationalist revolutionary movement.

8. What does it tell us about that period of time?

9. What can you tell of the setting? What type of poeple were most likely to see it?

10. Is it fine art or is it commercial art?

All of the images on this page are presented for educational purposes. The artists, clients, or their estates are the actual copyright holders for these images which are not to be used for any commercial reason without permission from these legal retainers. Sources are the History Makers Program of Chicago Illinois and Howard University's web site.