CURATED BY TERI HENDERSON
Check out the work of Adolphus Washington(IG:
Adolphus Washington hails from the Bronx, NY and is currently based in London. His collages and paintings express his perspective of the Black American aesthetic from culture to politics. Influences includes Romare Bearden, Arthur Jafa, John Coltrane and James Baldwin to name a few.
A People’s King (2021) Mixed media inc acrylic paint & copper, 40 x 30cm MLK wasn’t searching for popularity when approximately two-thirds of the American population had an unfavorable opinion of him according to a 1966 Gallup poll. Since MLK’s assassination, his image has been largely reduced to the famous “I have a dream” speech rendering him to that of a sound bite. The fact remains he was a warrior King who never wore a crown nor brandished a sword but his vigor in the fight for equality and justice for his people was unparalleled.
Baptism of Hip Hop (2021) Mixed media inc acrylic paint on paper, 50 x 66cm All black American music emerged out of systemic degradation and unimaginable hardship which has served as a kind of baptism. Seen in this image are three black monk-like figures standing underneath the elevated subway train as it rumbles through the Bronx. They usher in the birth of this genre with their incense in tow, accompanying boom box and defiant b-boy stance.
The Confidant at G’s Barbershop (2021) Mixed media inc acrylic paint & copper on paper, 40 x 30cm Within the black American culture, the barbershop acts as a central hub for unfettered discourse on subject matter ranging from race to politics and anything else under the sun. The relationship between barber and customer is seemingly as sacred as a Catholic in a confessional. The black barber ultimately creates a safe space where black men can be authentic.
The 70 (2021) Mixed media inc acrylic paint on paper, 40 x 30 cm The black silhouetted figures represent the 70 (approximate) enslaved black Americans Harriet Tubman freed from bondage in the antebellum south. The figures, of irregular shapes and sizes, appear to be twisting, turning, and contorting themselves as they embark on their journey towards freedom, while the blue and green represent the land and rivers they had to cross. The twisting and turning don’t just represent the thrust of pulling upward but more so the conundrum of venturing into an unknown whereby if caught will be met with certain death and if one stays to maintain the continuity of normal abnormality.
The Gaze (2021) Mixed media inc acrylic paint on paper, 40 x 30cm The Gaze illustrates the weight imposed on black artists. Succumbing to the omnipresent weight of the white gaze means that his/her artistic expression is severed from their authentic voice. Not only is he tormented by the steely blue eyes that surround him, he is boxed in by society and the sensitivities and considerations of people who identify as white, hence the stark white buildings.