Episode 02

Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell

Welcome to Contemporary Black Canvas, where we celebrate the depth and breadth of the Black artistic and intellectual traditions. I am your host, Dr. Pia Deas, in this episode, we interviewed painter, sculptor, and printmaker Wadsworth Jarrell and fashion designer Jae Jarrell. Their works, contributions and founding of the AFRICOBRA Movement has been inspired by the need to continuously uplift and empower their communities with art that is colorful, joyful, and strong. The Jarrells along with other founding members, Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams formed the collective in 1968 in Chicago. They believed that their skills could be better put to use by creating art rather than protesting and thus made revolutionary art that instilled pride and possessed a heavy political aesthetic. Jae Jarrells fashion designs which were inspired by the Black Arts Movement and the individuals who would adorn these pieces as they fought for liberation and equality. Likewise, Wadsworth Jarrell’s visual art was inspired by Black leading figures, Black life in Chicago, and jazz. Their artistry taps into their philosophies and principles of creating art that reflected the “electricity of the atmosphere” during the revolutionary movement. From Jae’s early exposure to the arts and design to Wadsworth’s experience in the military, tune into this week’s episode as they take us back in time to 1968 and the start of it all: A moment where political and social issues needed to be addressed through art and the burgeoning of the creation of a new African American school of thought and artistic language to meet the needs of the times.


Art Institute of Chicago

Jeff Donaldson

Barbara Jones- Hogu

Kevin Cole

Gerald Williams

AfriCobra Principles

The Revolutionary Suit

Revolutionary (Angela Davis)

Black Prince