This work belongs to a series that Wadsworth Jarrell developed around the time of the final original AFRICOBRA exhibition, AFRICOBRA III. This post from The History Makers digital archive describes the body of work: "Jarrell's studies of African art and the Senufo people appeared as a major influence during the mid-1970s. Paintings such as Prophecy, Reorientation and Navaga depict human figures that appear blended with Senufo sculptures. Navaga (1974) shows a seated woodcarver, holding a staff he works on, appearing to be made of wood himself. He wears clothing of and is surrounded by coolade colors. The face is that of Jarrell's father, manipulated into a Senufo sculptural style."
Artist Biography Wadsworth Jarrell (b. 1929, United States) is a painter, sculptor, and co-founder of the Black Arts collective AFRICOBRA. Recent exhibitions include AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, an official collateral exhibition of the 2019 Venice Biennale, and AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, and Soul of a Nation, which originated at the Tate Modern.
Born in Albany, Georgia, Jarrell was raised on a working farm. Inspired by the art in the Saturday Evening Post, he hoped to become an illustrator. He joined the US Army after high school and became the company artist for his unit. After the army, Jarrell moved to Chicago. While working at the International Paint factory, he enrolled in night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Initially focused on design and illustration, he switched his attention to fine art after visiting various Chicago art museums. Back in Georgia, blacks had not been allowed inside museums. Seeing masterpieces for the first time in person inspired Jarrell. He enrolled full time at SAIC in 1954, and earned his BA in 1958.
Wadsworth has developed many distinct bodies of work, including sculptures inspired by the African cultural traditions, and a series of paintings dedicated to jazz musicians. A distinctive tool Wadsworth has used in some paintings is a brick laying trowel—something he learned to utilize in 1982, while creating a 300 foot mural at the headquarters of Westinghouse Electric Company. His work is widely collected, and is included in several important institutional collections, including that of the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of Africa American History and Culture, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Africobra50, 2019, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL, United States
Africobra: Nation Time, 2019, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Exhibited, Cleveland Musuem of Art, "Heritage: Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell", 2017