Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Themed Section, African American Diversity, Style and Identity
"The Will to Adorn"
Activist and style maker, Oakland, California
Emory Douglas is a graphic artist, who served as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the 1980s. His iconic visual representations of the Black Panthers have been the subject of exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. Artist and art professor Colette Gaiter writes, “Douglas’s images served two purposes: first, illustrating conditions that made revolution seem necessary; and second, constructing a visual mythology of power for people who felt powerless and victimized.” Now retired, Douglas continues to provide graphics for social and political issues, such as Black-on-Black crime and the prison-industrial complex. Asked what he wants to do next, Douglas replies, "To continue to inform and educate through my work. It's an ongoing adventure."