Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Created by:
Wadsworth Aikens Jarrell Sr., American, born 1929  Search this
Subject of:
Angela Y. Davis, American, born 1944  Search this
Medium:
printing ink on paper
Dimensions:
H x W: 37 1/2 × 31 in. (95.3 × 78.7 cm)
Type:
screen prints
portraits
Place made:
Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
Date:
1972
Caption:
"I have given my life to the struggle. My life belongs to the struggle. If I have to lose my life in the struggle, well, then, that’s the way it will have to be." — Angela Davis
Revolutionary is a tribute to political and social activist Angela Davis. The portrait is formed through a complex and dynamic arrangement of color and words. The words were taken from speeches given by Davis for the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee and an interview published in the September 11, 1970, issue of Life magazine. The image was inspired by Dan O’Neil’s photograph, also featured in the magazine.
The letter “B,” repeated throughout the composition, simultaneously represents the word “Bad” and the phrase “Black is beautiful.”
Description:
This print depicts Angela Davis, a major figure in the fight for civil rights, in a state of impassioned speech. Davis' face and figure is formed out of strings of brilliantly colored letters, some of which form words. These letters are generated from a central point and radiate outward. The multiple colors and shading of these letters create the planes and contours that make up Davis' face, hair, and upper torso. Viewed from below, she is a monumental figure, head thrust forward, with open mouth. Her right hand, holding a microphone or walkie-talkie, is held up near her mouth. She wears a pink jacket that fastens along the left side. The jacket hem is edged by a red cartridge bandolier.
Topic:
African American  Search this
Art  Search this
Civil Rights  Search this
Local and regional  Search this
Politics  Search this
Women  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
2010.3.1
Restrictions & Rights:
© Wadsworth Jarrell
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Visual Arts
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/fd507038819-f39e-41cd-9d9f-763dba1269c3
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2010.3.1