Events

Centering the African Diaspora in Comics and Cartoons

A new exhibition recognizes the importance of representation both on the comics page and in the hands of the artists making them.

Key Artwork art directed by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, illustrated by Miguel Blanco, colored by Paris Alleyne for CCCADI (image courtesy CCCADI)

If there’s one positive cultural outcome of the Walt Disney Company’s continuing capitalist dominance of entertainment media, it’s been the recent spotlighting of characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage — popular heroes who offer an important window into the African Diaspora and the Black experience. A new exhibition recognizes the need for that kind of representation both on the comics page and behind the pencils and inks: The Color of Power: Heroes, Sheroes, & Their Creators at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), which opens with a special reception this weekend and runs through June 13, 2020.

Curated by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez (La Borinqueña, Somos Arte), the exhibition promises to explore social justice issues while showcasing the independent work of artists who have crafted comics and cartoons for places like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Disney, and DreamWorks. The list includes Sanford Greene, Alitha Martinez, Nilah Magruder, Afua Richardson, Ronald Wimberly, Billy Graham, and the curator himself — bring artists with roots in the Bahamas, Honduras, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the United States under one roof. 

“This exhibition reflects the work that we are doing that goes beyond the mainstream media industry and uplifts those stories and people we grew up with and that we know are as superheroes as anybody else,” said Miranda-Rodriguez in a statement. “Like the title, I want to show visitors to CCCADI that the color that gives power to popular culture looks like ours.”

The exhibition’s opening day will feature family programming in the early afternoon starting at noon (drop-in art, face painting, a photo booth, etc.) with more general programming (a wine reception and limited tour) to follow starting at 4 pm. Admission is free with RSVP, but a $5 donation is suggested.

When: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 12-6 pm
Where: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (120 E 125th St, Harlem, New York)

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