ComICA: Black Powers Panel In Pictures By Liban Diriye

Posted by November 7, 2009 Comment

Liban Diriye reports on the Black Powers panel, held last night as part of the ComICA comics arts festival in London.

"From left to right, Woodrow Phoenix, John Aggs, George Nelson, Paul Peart-Smith and Patrice Aggs"
"From left to right, Woodrow Phoenix, John Aggs, George Nelson, Paul Peart-Smith and Patrice Aggs"

Last night I had the pleasure of getting lost in the Swiss Cottage Library complex trying to find the right room for the Black Powers panel. My bewilderment was shortlived when I soon found a room full of artwork on walls and comics on plinths. The purpose of the exhibition was to showcase black representation in comics.

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The panel itself was chaired by the co-curators of the exhibition, Paul Peart-Smith and George Nelson. Also on the panel were artists Woodrow Phoenix, Patrice Aggs and John Aggs (mother and son, quite the artistic family).

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As well as talking about the art displayed, some by the panelists, the panel took questions from the audience. The ensuing discussion ranged from Herge’s “naive” (the word used by John Aggs as some in the audience chuckled) portrayal of black people in “Tintin in the Congo” to interesting tangents comparing black representation in cinema to comics.

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When the event was over the audience was left wanting more. Well, the work displayed delivered it, included original artwork from Ho Che Anderson’s “King” and Munoz & Sampayo’s “Billie Holiday”. For those alone it’s worth popping down to Swiss Cottage and getting lost for a while.

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The exhibition of comic art with African roots and relevance continues at the Swiss Cottage Library in London, as part of ComICA.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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