Black Artists for Uhuru

… At this particular period of time in the history of Black people in Britain, I find it necessary to make this appeal to the Black artists and art students of our communities here in the West Midlands. Though white artists/art students reading this article would do well to note, and strive to emulate our vocal, resolute, and articulate producers of “political” art.

This appeal stems from my concern for the wellbeing of the better people of our race who consistently find themselves drawn towards positions of both attack and defence where the battle is hottest: on the streets of our communities…

… I myself shun the word “ethnic” though I have no doubt that its users are mostly well intentioned. I choose rather to call our art what it should and must be: BLACK ART!

… The Black art student, by the very colour of his/her skin should find him/herself drawn towards the nerve points of social and political tension and unrest choosing to respond in this situation by producing work which voices their dissatisfaction with the offending bodies or people, offenders who may at one point in time or another include the police, the state, the educational system, the church, and so on. This work, in its clear, resolute, and eloquent terms cannot fail in the strength of its impact.

… Black art, at the very least, should indicate and/or document change. It should seek to effect such change by aiming to help create an alternative set of values necessary for better living, stronger communities, contemporary cultural identity, and so on, otherwise it fails miserably to be art befitting the black community. Black art, like everything else in the Black community must respond positively to the reality of revolution: revolution seen in earnest on our streets last summer.

A Black American writer has written “Let our art remind us of our distaste for the enemy, our love for each other and our commitment to the revolutionary struggle…” So let it be.

The above extracts are from a text by Eddie Chambers, “Black Artists for Uhuru”, Moz-Art magazine, Birmingham, Number 5, July 1982: 34


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