celebrating the black panthers’ chicago legacy

December 18, 2018

The Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party was formed on the West Side of Chicago in 1968. Half a century later, a pop-up, group-art exhibit presented by a partnership between Chicago’s cultural and education giants, at one of the south side’s pre-eminent young arts centers, is celebrating the Party’s and the chapter’s legacy ​in American history, featuring emerging and legendary artists alike.

Michael Thompson, “Black Panther Party Commemorative Sheet” (2016)

Now showing at artist Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank, ICONIC: Black Panther Chicago is co-produced by Gates’ Rebuld Foundation, and Tracye Matthews​​, the executive director of the ​Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture at University of Chicago​​, in partnership with the Los Angeles-based Sepia Collective (who’ve previously produced a localized version of the exhibit in Oakland and LA).

Emory Douglas, “Mother Daughter Remix”

The Chicago exhibit is curated by Tracie D. Hall of Rootwork Gallery, and features a mix of local, established and internationally renowned artists, including the Panthers’ minister of culture Emory Douglas, acclaimed printmaker and painter Dr. Samella Lewis, Chicago artists/scholars Rashayla Marie Brown​​ and ​Amanda Williams, among others​​. The artworks on display catalog and archive the continued legacy of the Panthers as a social justice and political movement. They also create a major impact on the community, with a portion of the proceeds from the sales at the exhibit going directly to ​Black Panther alumni in need — the money previously raised having gone towards help with housing, medical needs, legal fees, and for family members of fallen Panthers.

Malika Jackson, “Migration Back to Self”

“​The Arts Bank and ​Rebuild Foundation are honored to be partners for ​ICONIC: Black Panther,​​” said Gates, a founder and executive director of both the Arts Bank and ReBuild​. “The legacy and impact of the Black Panthers on the South and West sides of the Chicago is part of the important history of resilience and radical self determinism, values that we cherish at the ​Arts Bank​​.”

Michael Thompson, “Huey Newton Stamp” (2016)

ICONIC: Black Panther kicks off a year-long community outreach campaign by ​Panthers in Chicago, ​in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Illinois chapter. Over the course of the year, they’ll be implementing some of the survival programs such as food giveaways and testing for sickle cell disease.

Emory Douglas, “Father Son Remix”

ICONIC: Black Panther is on view at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago’s Jackson Park neighborhood through January 6th, 2019