Wadsworth Jarrell’s Revolutionary (Angela Davis) (1971) is one of the most recognized paintings associated with the Black Arts Movement, a cultural manifestation of the Black Power Movement. Artists of this movement sought to create uplifting images that called upon Black people to harness their collective power.
The power of communal action is here expressed through a chromatic swirl of individual colors that coalesce into a unified image of the radical activist and intellectual Angela Davis (b 1944). Davis’s militant clothing — complete with bullet cartridges — was modeled after the Revolutionary Suit designed by artist Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth’s wife. And icon of Black Power, Davis continues to lead the prison abolition movement today.
Photographed in The Brooklyn Museum.