Wadsworth Jarrell and AFRICOBRA: Sheets of Color, Sheets of Sound
Wadsworth Jarrell, a co-founder of the AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) group of revolutionary artists, embarked on several series of jazz and blues-themed paintings in the 1980s because he wanted “to keep alive” the music he feared was being forgotten. Born in Albany, Georgia, in 1929, Jarrell studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught at Howard University and the University of Georgia. His studio in Chicago served as the venue for many concerts by members of the city's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). In the 1980s and 1990s Jarrell produced numerous canvases, painted in the bright, vibrant AFRICOBRA style, that reflected his lifelong love of jazz and blues. This chapter presents an interview with him at his studio in New York's Washington Heights in April 2004.
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