Darkwater VI (after W.E.B. DuBois), 2016

Basel 2016
Lehmann Maupin
furnace black watercolor, gold acrylic, book page on panel
17.8 x 12.7 (cm)
7.0 x 5.0 (inch)
Darkwater VI (after W.E.B. DuBois), by artists Tim Rollins and K.O.S., was inspired by author W.E.B. Dubois’s autobiographical text Darkwater. Created in partnership with the Bronx Museum’s education initiative, the artwork demonstrates the collective’s dedication to collaboration, social engagement, and education. The artists focused on teaching Dubois’s seminal text to South Bronx public school students between the fifth and eighth grades. Fostering creativity and community engagement amongst the South Bronx youth, the students had the opportunity to respond to issues discussed in Darkwater through the process of art making. Each of the students created one painting, dipping each page in black watercolor, obscuring the text – essays and short fiction about race, class, and gender issues – and leaving only a small area of legibility, resulting in a 72-panel work. Since its inception, Rollins and K.O.S. have challenged the notion of individual authorship in artwork, in favor of a collaborative structure, a groundbreaking premise in the 1980s – each member lends their own unique perspective and skills, resulting in artwork that centers around social action.