Through ongoing collaboration with the communities it serves, NAAM creates exhibitions that are relevant, inclusive, engaging, and entertaining. Our exhibitions explore the connections between our region and the history, art, and culture of people of African descent.
Now on View in the Northwest Gallery
Funky Turns 40: Black Character Animation Art from Black Cartoons of the 1970s.
November 22, 2014 – May 3, 2015
Organized by the Museum of Uncut Funk from their collection. The exhibition is curated by Pamela Thomas, Curator of the Museum of Uncut Funk.
This special touring exhibition commemorates the 40th anniversaries of 1970s Saturday morning cartoons that featured positive black characters for the first time in television history. The exhibition features sixty original production cels and drawings used to produce these treasured cartoons. Also included are images from the animated opening of Soul Train and also from BeBe’s Kids (1992) and Our Friend Martin (1999)—two of the few black-cast/black-focused animated features that have been produced since the 1970s.
From 1900 to 1960, over 600 cartoon shorts featuring black characters were produced by some of Hollywood’s greatest white animators and biggest film studios. These films reflected the ugliest racial stereotypes of the pre-Civil Rights era, portraying blacks as less-than-human, minstrel caricatures. Broad and derogatory, these cartoons represented blacks as cannibals, coons, mammies and Stepin Fetchit-like characters with exaggerated physical features, ignorant dialects, and amoral behavior.
It wasn’t until the late 1960s/early 1970s that Saturday morning television cartoons started to feature black animated characters in a positive and realistic manner. Fueled by the Civil Rights Movement and the over-whelming commercial success of black musicians and athletes, television producers began to explore projects with a wide, multicultural appeal. This new generation of black characters become stars of their own series with a modern look and contemporary story lines that delivered culturally relevant messages. For the first time, children saw cartoon characters that looked and talked like real black people, full of warmth, humor, and intelligence.
Funky Turns 40 will premiere at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York, NY) in January 2014. It will then travel to the Dusable Museum (Chicago, IL) before coming to Seattle.
The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Uncut Funk from its private collection and curated by Pamela Thomas, Curator of the Museum of UnCut Funk.
This exhibition is made possible by:
On View in the Paccar Gallery
Onyx Fine Arts Collective: A Decade of Art
September 19, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Onyx Fine Arts Collective: A Decade of Art features prize-winning artists from exhibitions that have been presented annually by Onyx over the last ten years. A Decade of Art will include artwork in diverse styles and media from established artists to promising new-comers in the local arts community. The mission of Onyx Fine Arts Collective is to give greater visibility and opportunities to artists of African descent. Imbued with the properties of the black gem stone that represents positive energy, guards against negativity, fortifies self-confidence and sharpens the senses, Onyx inspires artists to develop and grow creatively and professionally.