This Saturday the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in Harlem, New York will welcome an array of comic book talent. On receiving the press release, I reached out to ask two quick questions from Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the Writer/Creator of La Borinqueña and the guest curator for this exhibition.
The Beat: How did this exhibit come about?
Miranda-Rodriguez: CCCADI‘s Executive Director Melody Capote reached out to me. They have a new exhibition space in Harlem that’s beautiful. She recalled my last 2 comic book art shows Santerians: The Art of Joe Quesada (2007) and Marvelous Color (2009). She asked if I could do a similar exhibition this year, making it 10 years since my last show. I gave it some thought and came up with the title “The Color of Power” then designed the logo. I added Ben-Day dots to the typography to give it an homage to comic book coloring before the digital era. Red, black, and green connected the logo to the African nationalist movement and the Pan-African flag introduced by Marcus Garvey in 1920. I wanted to curate a show that celebrated and connected the comic book industry here in the U.S. to the African Diaspora to support the mission and work of CCCADI.
The Beat: What went into making the choices for these particular artists?
Miranda-Rodriguez: I invited artists to be part of this show that have achieved mainstream success while still developing creator-owned projects. It’s a group of award-winning artists like Eisner winners Afua Richardson, Alitha Martinez, and Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity winner Nilah Magruder. Sanford Greene (Bitter Root) and Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats) have their books both in development as films. These artists also have heritage from the Bahamas, Honduras, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the United States show us all the vast reaches of people of African descent. I myself received Eisners’ 2019 Clampett Humanitarian Award and have my character La Borinqueña in two different Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC and New York City. The exhibition showcases exemplary artists, storytellers, and professionals who in the face of adversity and discrimination in the comic book industry never give up and through their resilience show the world the colors we use to show our power. In addition to these artists, I’m excited to include legendary artist Billy Graham who is the first African-American to draw for Marvel and we’re displaying his Jungle Action featuring Black Panther and Luke Cage Hero for Hire original art on loan from the collection of Nicholas Katradis.
For more about the exhibit, the press release straight from the desk of Miranda-Rodriguez:
The Color of Power: Heroes, Sheroes, & Their Creators – An Exhibition Featuring the work of Comic Book Artists of the African Diaspora
Billy Graham, Sanford Greene, Nilah Magruder, Alitha Martinez, Afua Richardson, Ronald Wimberly, and Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez
Guest Curated by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez
* * * November 16th Opening Day Programs 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm* * *
The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) is pleased to present the exhibition The Color of Power: Heroes, Sheroes, & Their Creators highlighting the work of comic book artists of the African Diaspora. The exhibition will be on view at their home in the landmark firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues in Manhattan beginning November 16, 2019 until June 13, 2020.
The entire day of November 16th will serve as an opening to the public, beginning with our fun SouSou! Saturdays family program occurring from 12:00pm-4:00pm; and programs for general audiences, including a wine reception, and a special limited guided tour by the guest-curator of the exhibition between 4:00pm-6:00pm. For a full list of programs please visit: www.cccadi.org
The Color of Power: Heroes, Sheroes, & their Creators is guest curated and features art from critically-acclaimed graphic novelist, activist, and philanthropist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez of Somos Arte. Previous exhibitions at CCCADI curated by Miranda-Rodriguez include Santerians: The Art of Joe Quesada (2007) and Marvelous Color: 70 years of Marvel Heroes of African Descent (2009). A series of complementary public programs are planned and will be led by participating exhibition artists and others from the respective industry. For a full schedule please visit: www.cccadi.org.
People have a wonderful fascination with superheroes. These characters are often referenced, and consumed in our lives, both fantasy and real. Many of us recognize, celebrate, and see ourselves in their back stories, super strengths, and weaknesses. However, how often do these characters, or their narratives, or their creators reflect the actual diverse world in which we all live? How diverse are mainstream publishers, who produce this content?
These questions and more are explored in the exhibition, The Color of Power: Heroes, Sheroes, & Their Creators. On display will be the work of Billy Graham, Sanford Greene, Nilah Magruder, Alitha Martinez, Afua Richardson, Ronald Wimberly, and Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. These comic book artists have translated their commercial success to create stories that celebrate the beauty and rich heritage of the African Diaspora. Artists with roots in The Bahamas, Honduras, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the United States share their personal collection of art and powerful characters. Through this reflective exhibition of stories and characters, the viewer may capture an understanding of the superpowers which have always sustained our communities and cultures.
ABOUT THE GUEST CURATOR
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is a graphic novelist most notably recognized as the writer and creator of the critically acclaimed and bestselling superhero series La Borinqueña. In addition, he is celebrated for his philanthropic efforts via the benefit anthology Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico featuring La Borinqueña teaming up with Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and other DC Comics heroes. He self-published this anthology under his own studio Somos Arte and to date Edgardo has raised close to a quarter of a million dollars for grassroots organizations in Puerto Rico via the La Borinqueña Grants Program. As the Creative Director and owner of Somos Arte, a Brooklyn-based creative services studio he has worked with such notable clients as Atlantic Records, Sony Pictures, Columbia University, and Marvel. In addition, Edgardo is a curator of art exhibitions having already produced three original Marvel comic book art exhibitions and his very own La Borinqueña for the Smithsonian Museums.