“I think we need to remember … that a lot of energy was put into changing things to get us to the point where we are now. But being where we are now doesn’t mean that we don’t have to put in the same kind of energy to get us to a place where we ought to be.”–Kerry James Marshall
Kerry James Marshall, an artist living and working in Chicago, is best known for mural-size, figurative paintings of subjects from African-American history. The prints seen here depict slogans from the Civil Rights movement: “We Shall Overcome” is the title of a hymn synonymous with the non-violent strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr.; “Black Power” is the title of Stokely Carmichael (a.k.a. Kwame Turre’s) black nationalist manifesto. When read together, the prints present messages that progress from love to violence; their colors–red, black, and green–are symbolic of black nationalism. The prints, reminiscent of the work of Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, are made from oversized stamps that were shown together with Marshall’s prints in a 1998 installation of the artist’s work in Chicago.