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The Robe, from the series "Born Hip"

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.

Date:

1962

Artist:

Billy Abernathy
American, 1938-2017

About this artwork

Among the most influential figures in Chicago’s Black Arts Movement, Billy (Fundi) Abernathy is known for creating images that defined Black confidence, elegance, and style. This work extended to his collaborations with his wife, Sylvia (Laini) Abernathy, with whom he designed album covers for Delmark Records in the 1960s. Around that time, the poet and author Amiri Baraka (born LeRoi Jones) encountered Fundi’s photographs of Chicago and proposed a book project that would combine his poetry with Fundi’s images. The resulting collaboration, In Our Terribleness (Some Elements and Meaning in Black Style), designed by Laini and published in 1970, is both a statement about Black aesthetics and a call to action by the Black Power movement. As Baraka proclaimed, “Our terribleness is our survival as beautiful beings, anywhere.” The Screen and Mother’s Day both appeared in In Our Terribleness. In 1971 the New York Times hailed the book as “an example of the new direction that black art is taking.”

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Photography and Media

Artist

Billy Abernathy

Title

The Robe, from the series "Born Hip"

Origin

United States

Date

1962

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

21 × 12.7 cm

Credit Line

Gift of the Illinois Arts Council

Reference Number

2017.442

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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