Africobra: A descriptive study of an African-American artist collective

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Hope Irvine


Africobra, African-American, Artist, Collective, Black artists

Subject Categories



African American artists and their contributions to American art remain for the most part, unacknowledged in American art history. The scholarly treatment of these artists and their contributions is sparse and usually handled in a cursory survey format. The survey method provides only a brief note on individual African American artists with a few accompanying illustrations. The brevity and resulting lack of scholarly depth suggest that African American artists and their works are insignificant when in fact we lack sufficient information to accurately assess their significance. An art education curriculum is at best incomplete in light of the lack of scholarship on African American artists.

The present state of affairs within the United States suggests art is not multicultural. Nor does it necessarily reflect the perspectives of a multicultural audience. This adds to the notion that art is something for a select few. Africobra's distinction between an African influenced and a Western aesthetic makes one curious about the qualities of each aesthetic and challenges the privileging of the Western one. This case study will seek to discover out of what circumstances a nationalistic African American artist collective, Africobra, grew.

In-depth qualitative interviewing techniques and some participant observation were employed to gather data at individual artist's locations. Catalogs of the collective's exhibitions, articles, and other documented materials provided insight into Africobra's development. Members and ex-members explained their art work and how their particular images fulfilled the collective's goals during particular stages of the collective's evolution.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.