Contributed by Sean H. Palmer, Assistant Director of the Mary Lou Williams Center
It was decided long ago, after seeing an emerging local artist's work hang all around the Triangle, that FRANCO's art must come to Duke. With a vibrant and bold color palette and inspired by both the activism and aesthetic of the 60s and 70s, FRANCO seeks to blend art and activism together to form what he calls, "visual activism." In this digital medium, FRANCO seems to be doing with art what Hip-Hop has done with music, blending the past with the present to make a statement about who we are in this moment. His work asks us to consider how we contribute to society in both positive and negative ways. His work might be saying to some, "Are you an activist, really?"
At the same time, FRANCO's work is as cool as he is, the aesthetic might be "in your face" particularly where color is concerned, but on some level much of FRANCO's work appears to be reserved, as though it were stylish friends sitting at the bar. It is this nuanced and "fresh" presentation that will draw students, alumni and staff into the world of FRANCO as his work seeks to explore Racial Equality, Black Power, Black Leadership, and Justice.
We are hoping that "Visual Activism" will lead all of those who view his work to consider their own abilities to be activists in a world waiting for a mix of bold passion and cool knowledge of the past. Join us from September 22 to October 30 in viewing this work at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.