Installation series from ONLI STUDIOS presented at the DuSable Museum in Chicago.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

B.A.G. The Black Arts Guild Circa 1970-1978 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of the launch of the self-sustained youthful and gifted Black Arts Guild, B.A.G. Started in Chicago in 1970 by Turtel Onli, B.A.G. and its principal members who were in their late teens and wanted to get past the restraints of ageism and orthodoxy in the arts community to make the transition from young  talented students to competitive professional artists and arts educators.

They also wanted to morph ideas and styles emerging from the Black Cultural revolution into the mainstream. It served this purpose from 1970 until 1978.  B.A.G. produced a variety of exhibitions, products, embraced the health giving watermelon as its logo and its members went on to earn degrees, become illustrators for the likes of Essence Magazine, The Paris Metro Magazine, Motown Corp, Johnson Publishing Company, and interned with the textile designer Robert E. Paige's One - of-a-Kind Studios. Including becoming certified arts educators with various school systems.
Founder Prof. Turtel Onli is planning a series of TBA exhibitions, lectures and more in tribute to the launch, life and legacy of B.A.G. The Black Arts Guild. Its principle members were Jim Smoote, Dalton Brown, Greg Broils, Obie Creed, Kenneth Hunter, Espi Frazier, Judith Lee, and Turtel Onli. Notice has been served!

Dalton Brown designed the poster above to promote a B.A.G. Group exhibition at the now defunct AFAM Art Gallery in Chicago in 1973.  The image above that is a part of a showcase of Brown's artwork in Hyde Park at the Great Frame Up.

Above: Jim Smoote shown with one of his masterful quilts.  Smoote was a critical member of B.A.G. He served as its Treasure and his meticulous prolific work ethic help set the tone and pace for productivity within this guild.

Espi Frazier's rigorous Wood Graphics and other works are still potent and full of a beauty & power that speaks volumes for her dedication and life as an artist.

B.A.G. produced a set of limited edition note-cards that readily sold out.  The above image shows Greg Broils' image along with one created by Jim Smoote in collaboration with Kenneth Hunter.

The Rhythmistic illustrations and graphic design work of B.A.G .members Kenneth Hunter and Turtel Onli are featured in the amazingly historic and intelligently crafted album cover sized book, "Freedom: Rhythm & Sound.

This is an article that ran in the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1991 where Dalton Brown along with Turtel Onli were interviewed about B.A.G. and its impact.

May 11 – November 24, 2019

Ca’ Faccanon, Calle delle Acque,
30124 Venezia, Italy

AFRICOBRA: Nation Time is a Collateral Event of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
AFRICOBRA: Nation Time will be presented as an official Collateral Event of Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, Italy. Founded over 120 years ago, the Venice Bienniale is the oldest and most prestigious biennial in the world. The exhibition, on view from May 11 – November 24, 2019, will mark the first exhibition from South Florida to be represented on the important international platform.
AFRICOBRA: Nation Time at Biennale Arte 2019 is the first time the work of this vital, definitive, and historic Black Arts collective has been celebrated by global audiences on this scale. AFRICOBRA was founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 by a collective of young Black artists, whose interest in Transnational Black Aesthetics led them to create one of the most distinctive visual voices in 20th Century American art. The key characteristics to what we now consider the classic AFRICOBRA look—vibrant, “cool-ade” colors, bold text, shine and positive images of Black people —were essential to everyday life in the community from which this movement emerged. The five AFRICOBRA founders—Jeff Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams—understood the potential power visual art has to communicate deep meaning on multiple layers. Their collective impact helped establish the visual voice of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Feature jamPacked

Thursday, April 18, 2019

 "Taking this rare moment to be politically incorrect and address the Haters.  The ones I opened professional doors to and for. The ones I built an open sourced genre for them to flourish. The ones who will not have the humanity to relate to this and should now stop reading and move elsewhere. Being a life long humanitarian and Rhythmistic Visual Artist who has done things before many of them were born or even thought about.  Challenging the norms and limits of this craft. They are so blind to not see the damage of their selfishness. The stealing of ideas beyond their ability to control.  The denial of truth covered up in opinons.

The willingness to hide behind Ageism, Racsim, Heterophobia, Self-hatered and classism rather to appreciate this generous practice and its proven potential.  But that is what haters do and there is a new hater bred and born every second in this global world of ours."
' Now to close that vent and return to the studio and all things Rhythmistic!"
Sharing a 1990 masterwork. Acrylic on canvas.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Life in the Arts LINK:

The Black Arts Guild until now and forever. This is about life in the Arts on a massive scale.  Flowing out with concepts, skills, ideas and genres that have launched or recovered careers.

Shown in the above photo: The late Kenneth Hunter, non B.A.G. member noted photographer Roy Lewis, Espi Frazier and Turtel Onli. Taken in 1972 at the National Conference of Artists Convention in Washington DC at Howard University.

 Photo by B.A.G. member Jim Smoote