Art on the Frontline: Mandate for A People's Culture

“Progressive and revolutionary art is inconceivable outside of the context of political movements for radical change,” Angela Davis wrote in her influential 1985 essay, Art on the Frontline. 

"…If cultural workers utilize their talents on an ever-increasing scale to accomplish the task of awakening and sensitizing people to the need for a further mass challenge to the ultraright, the prospects for strengthening and further uniting the antimonopoly movement, bringing together labor, Afro-Americans, women and peace activists will greatly increase. As that movement wins victories, existing artists will draw inspiration from the creative energy of this process, and new artists will emerge as a result. If we are able to set this dynamic in motion, we will begin to move securely in the direction of economic, racial and sexual emancipation—indeed, toward the ultimate goal of socialism—and we will be able to anticipate a peaceful future, free of the threat of nuclear war.”

The complete text of this remarkable essay is now available in a new edition from Walther König and Afterall Books, with responsive artworks by Tschabalala Self.

Editor: Amber Husain
Author(s):Angela Y. Davis
Illustrations: Tschabalala Self 

Walther König, Köln/Afterall Books, 2021
79 p, × 8 in.