Barbara Jones-Hogu Crafted Art that stressed Black Independence and Artistic Self-Determination

Barbara Jones-Hogu was born in Chicago. She received a BA from Howard University in 1959, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964, and a MS with a concentration in printmaking from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1970.  Jones-Hogu is associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As a member of OBAC (Organization for Black American Culture), she was one of the muralists who created the important “Wall of Respect” in 1967 on the south side of Chicago – a public work that inspired the creation of socially, politically and culturally themed murals across the urban American landscape. In 1968, Jones-Hogu became a founding member of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA). As a member of AfriCOBRA she participated in formulating the group’s mission statement, which stressed black independence and artistic self-determination.


AfriCOBRA was a Chicago-based group of black artists whose shared aim was to develop their own aesthetic in the visual arts in order to empower black communities.

The African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA) was founded in 1968 by Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Wadsworth Jarrell and Gerald Williams.

Rather than bringing about change through political revolt, these artists used the black identity, its style, attitude and worldview to foster solidarity and self-confidence throughout the African Diaspora. It was a revolution of the mind, body and spirit and the art reflected this.

The Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite catalog is the first monograph of Barbara Jones-Hogu’s work. The book includes a foreword by DPAM Director and Chief Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, essays by Tate Modern curator Zoé Whitley and Chicago artist Faheem Majeed, an interview with the artist by art historian Rebecca Zorach, and 22 illustrated plates, a selected bibliography, exhibition history, and checklist. The limited edition catalog was designed by Matt Austin of Candor Arts and features a hand silk screened cover.

Barbara Jones-Hogu is an artist we should all be familiar with. She created a legacy of change through her art! A legacy that is relevant and important to this very time that we are living in. Barbara has since passed on but through her bright and bold work she will keep us inspired. I hope our children and children’s children will learn and know about her activism through art!

Nevah Black Down


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