Emory Douglas : The Roots of Political Street Art

emory douglas-3

This weekend I went to the New Museum in New York City for the first time. I am not really sure what took me so long to get there but I think it was a subliminal resistance to prolong my optimism towards to the museum, as a response to the negative feelings I have heard from those around me about it. For the most part it was a major disappointment, but it was the Emory Douglas Exhibition which I saw last that that turned the trip into time well spent.

emory douglas-4

“Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas traces the graphic art made by Emory Douglas while he worked as minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until its discontinuation in the early 1980s. Douglas’s powerful visuals helped define the trademark visual style of the group’s newspapers, posters, and pamphlets. Douglas’s substantial body of work exists as a powerful graphic record of the Black Panthers’ legacy, reflecting their development and evolving mission to improve the lives of African Americans by calling for resistance and change, as well providing social services to their communities. With a firm understanding of the need to disseminate information and communicate the party’s agenda visually, Douglas’s bold illustrations and striking images spoke forcefully to a community ravaged by poverty, police brutality, and poor living conditions. With unmistakable humanism, Douglas portrayed a populace that was emerging from segregation and proudly fighting to assert their rights to equality. ” – quoted from MOCA press release.

emory douglas-8

emory douglas-15

emory douglas-10

emory douglas-9emory douglas-7

emory douglas-5

emory douglas-11

emory douglas-1

emory douglas-2

Emory’s work has become a huge influence to contemporary street/political artist like Shepard Ferry and Banksy, who have created their own language through art to communicate their stance on political and social issues that have touched people globally.