Friday, 21 November 2008

Emory Douglas.

Emory Douglas, one-time Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, has an exhibition of his design work on show at the Urbis in Manchester until March 2009. As you might expect, the bulk of it is Panther-related; flyers, handbills, posters, copies of The Black Panther newspaper, as well as a ton of archive material such as photographs, video, audio and even something about the BPP house band, the Lumpen, who I'd never previously heard of, but who sounded a bit like the Chambers Brothers-meets-early-Sly-Stone on the evidence of the recording on offer during the exhibition.

The whole thing does a good job of contextualising not only Douglas' contribution to the BPP, but also the conditions and circumstances that led to the rise of the Panthers in the first place. It starts off pretty grim, but gradually turns into something very inspiring and uplifting, or at least I thought so. I visited it on the Saturday before America elected its first black president and proved that it can still sometimes deliver on its founding principles, so in a way the timing couldn't have been better. It's free, too, so if you happen to be in Manchester between now and next spring, you should go.

I took some photos as well. They're fairly standard camera-phone snaps, but hopefully they'll offer a flavour of it.

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