Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite
The Aperture Foundation is offering a stunning traveling exhibition on the work of Kwame Brathwaite (b. 1938), the first show dedicated to Brathwaite's remarkable career. A Renaissance man of the 1950s and 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite - a photographer born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx and lived as a young professional in Harlem - was deeply interested in Black economic liberation and freedom. After learning of Emmett Till's horrific murder, and seeing his open casket published in Jet magazine, Brathwaite and his brother Elombe, vowed to use art as a vehicle for social change. Together they founded the African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS) - a collective of artists and other creatives who supported the work of Miles Davis, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, among others. They also promoted a message of economic empowerment through their campaign of "Think Black, Buy Black." By the 1960s, Brathwaite sought to address the white conception of beauty and coined the term "Black is Beautiful," which he promoted through his photographs. His modeling troupe, Grandassa Models, often served as his primary subjects during this period, and they produced annual fashion shows at the Apollo Theater.
Today, Brathwaite resides in New York City and is married to a former Grandassa Model, Sikolo Brathwaite. Brathwaite says of his work of the 1950s and '60s, "It was a time when people were protesting injustices related to race, class, and human rights around the globe. I focused on perfecting my craft so that I could use my gift to inspire thought, relay ideas, and tell stories of our struggle, our work, our liberation."
Number of Works: 42 framed works. Blue Note record albums featuring Brathwaite’s photographs and garments will also travel with the exhibition. Also included are high resolution files of historical AJASS and Grandassa posters to be printed by the Exhibitor for exhibition display. Organized by: the Aperture Foundation, New York and the artist's son, Kwame S. Brathwaite