“BLACK PANTHER PARTY POWER”
A new exhibition by Phillip Pyle, II
On view September 25, 2015– November 6, 2015
Opening reception: Friday, September 25, 2015
(Houston, TX) – Fresh Arts presents “Black Panther Party Power,” an exhibition by Houston-based artist Phillip Pyle, II., Pyle will present a collection of original images that recast some of the most recognizable and outspoken activists of the Black Panther Party as superheroes.
At its inception, the Black Panther Party's core practice was to arm citizen patrols to monitor the behavior of police officers and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. In 1969, community social programs became a central activity of party members. The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics. Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” and he supervised a comprehensive program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership and incriminate party members in an effort to discredit, criminalize and drain the organization of resources and manpower.
In an attempt to reimagine the history of African-American people in the United States, Pyle will represent these vilified historical figures of the Black Panther movement in their new fantastic roles.
The public is invited to a free opening reception beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 25, 2015, at Fresh Arts, 2101 Winter Street, Studio B11, Houston, TX, 77007. Free parking is available.
“As a child, I was told numerous stories about the Black Panthers by my father,” Pyle says. “To him, the Panthers were heroes and defenders of the less fortunate, fighting for civil rights of African-Americans across the country. When my father told me stories about the Panthers, the majority of my heroes at that time were of the animated variety. Each Saturday morning, the cartoon Voltron was one of the shows that consumed my attention. The combination of outfits and large animal robots that united to form an even larger robot was thrilling.
As a result of Pyle’s mistrust of the traditional narrative of the Black Panther Party, he has chosen to represent the historical members on a galactic scale.