Perhaps one of the most fascinating group exhibitions that Charles White was involved in was DIX ARTISTES NEGRES DES ETATS-UNIS: Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Négres, Dakar, Senegal, 1966. TEN NEGRO ARTISTS FROM THE UNITED STATES: First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, Senegal, 1966. The exhibition was a United States contribution to the First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, Senegal, 1966 and included work by Barbara Chase, Emilio Cruz, Sam Gilliam, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence, William Majors, Norma Morgan, Robert Reid, Charles White, and Todd Williams. A brief biographical note on, and photograph of, Joseph Lawe, the catalogue designer, appeared at the back of the publication. The exhibition was produced and sponsored by the United States Committee for the First World Festival of Negro Arts, Inc. and the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution.
The exhibition was accompanied by this bi-lingual (French and English) publication. Contents as follows:
List of presiding and organising personnel
Introductory note, by Mrs. Virginia Inness-Brown, Chairman, the United States Committee for the First World Festival of Negro Arts
Preface – uncredited
Foreword – Hale Woodruff
The artists brief biography, plus photograph on one page, with an image of the artist’s work on the opposite page.
From the Preface: If the works of art which comprise this exhibit are but a small sampling of the richly creative variety stemming from America’s Negro artists, it is a condition of which the Selection Committee is painfully aware. Indeed, it is a problem familiar to all committees that have faced similar tasks. There is never enough time, or space, or money to assemble a truly definitive collection of so large and active a group.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that the exhibit will not only provide some insight into what Negro American artists are doing, but that it will make a valid contribution to the total context of the Dakar Festival. Perhaps the latter hope is the more pressing, for the Festival is being held at a time in history when the cultural consciousness and social aspirations of the Negro everywhere are being raised in the arts, as well as in other areas of human endeavor.
Woodruff’s text wove together a narrative that embraced the ten artists, with his passage on White (which referenced two other artists in the exhibition) being as follows:
The works of Charles White, now working primarily as a draughtsman, can be broadly characterized as “graphics.” Apparently quite remote from the purposes of [William] Majors or [Norma] Morgan, his aim seems to be to bring us immediately face to face with his subject and the characters involved in it. Although his characters are often obliquely symbolic in their treatment, the unequivocal reality of each of them, not as a person but all persons, are reminders to all of us of the travails, perhaps agonies, that mankind has always known.