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:
Eyes to Dream
A Project Room by C. Davida Ingram
April 4 – July 5, 2015
Award-winning artist and curator C. Davida Ingram creates projects that examine race, gender, sexuality and other markers of identity. Her recent collaborations stereoTYPE and I Wish a Mother***** Would explore the aesthetics and innate beauty of both racial and social justice. Working in different mediums, Ingram poses simple questions which encourage visitor participation and rich, open-ended answers. Eyes to Dream highlights recent work by Ingram and selections from artist Barbara Earl Thomas and poets Duriel E. Harris, francine j. harris. Sound Design by Lara Davis, Robb Kunz and Ari Lindholm.
Photography by Zorn B. Taylor.
Norman B. and Constance Rice Legacy Hall Foyer
Torchbearers: Portraits of African American Leaders in Seattle and King County by Robert Wade
On view through May 3, 2015
Robert Wade is a Seattle-based fine art and commercial photographer. His fine art photographic themes include street scenes, figure studies, man-made objects in the environment, water, and both formal and candid portraiture. For this special display at NAAM he has captured a sampling of dynamic community leaders including Norman B. and Dr. Constance Rice, Adriane Brown, Larry Gossett, Marcellus Turner, Barbara Thomas, Claude Harris, Gregory Dean , Dr. Quintard Taylor and Mariane Lenhardt.
This exhibition is made possible with a grant from 4 Culture and will be on view through April 5, 2015.