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On May 18th the South Side Community Arts Center (SSCAC) will host the brilliant work of Chicago’s own artist collective, AfriCOBRA! The exhibition, titled Vibrant Saturations: Kool-Aid Colors and Black Chicago, features pieces from the Center’s private collection that have not been seen in recent years! The reception will be held from 1:00pm and 4:00pm

This exhibition explores the histories of the use of vibrant colors in Black Chicago art which were referred to as Kool-Aid Colors. Founded in the 60’s , members of AfriCOBRA and their contemporaries throughout Chicago used vibrant colors in their work to deliver powerful messages to viewers. Originally named COBRA, the Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, COBRA artists used their work to call awareness to racial violence in America, especially following the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago when a series of paintings was created by each of the members.

In 1969, the group changed the name to AfriCOBRA, (the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) as they chose to focus more on the Diaspora of people of African descent and embracing the rising Afrocentric ideology. Much of AfriCOBRA’s work focused on social, political, and economic conditions related to Black America.

This is a flash exhibition and will be available for viewing from Tuesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 25. Join SSCAC and reacquaint yourself or become acquainted with the powerful images created by this groundbreaking group of Chicago artists whose work has become renowned worldwide!



Sam Middleton at Hammonds House

You’re invited to embark on a mesmerizing journey through the life and works of Sam Middleton, a pioneering mixed-media artist whose vibrant creations echoed the rhythms of Harlem jazz and the landscapes of Europe’s Low Countries. Born in New York in 1927, Middleton’s artistic odyssey transcended borders and he left an indelible mark on both sides of the Atlantic. Rhythm of Resilience: The Artistry of Sam Middleton opens at Hammonds House Museum on May 17 and runs through August 18, 2024. There will be an opening night reception from 6:30–9 pm with the first opportunity to view the artwork, and there will be light bites and music. RSVP HERE.

In Rhythm of Resilience Middleton’s artistic evolution unfolds amidst the vibrant culture and pulsating beats of jazz and classical music in Harlem. His encounters with creativity at the Savoy Ballroom ignited a lifelong passion for self-expression.

Venturing beyond his hometown, Middleton’s voyages with the US Merchant Marines provided him with inspiration, infusing his art with a global perspective. From the sun-soaked shores of Mexico to the tranquil landscapes of Sweden, each destination left an imprint on his ever-evolving aesthetic. Moving to the Netherlands in 1961, Middleton, joined a wave of African American artists drawn to its creative environment. Settling in Schagen, amidst the serene North Holland polder landscape, Middleton’s work blossomed, blending the vibrancy of jazz with the tranquility of his surroundings.


Periodically Pigment International asks our Black art partners to weigh in on the state of the Black art market including artists, sales, exhibitions and other aspects of the Black art ecosystem.

From my vantage point as the owner of Galerie Myrtis, the Black art market is in a state of vibrant resurgence and redefinition. At the helm of one of the premier galleries dedicated to work created by African American and African Diaspora artists, I witness firsthand the dynamic interplay between tradition and innovation, heritage, and contemporary expression as artists rewrite the art historical canon.

In recent years, I have observed a surge in the appreciation of art produced by Black artists, driven by a growing awareness of its cultural significance and artistic merit. This heightened interest has propelled many artists to the forefront of the global art scene, garnering critical acclaim and fetching record prices at auctions and galleries.

Through Galerie Myrtis, I’ve had the privilege of championing the work of both established luminaries and emerging talents, amplifying their voices and narratives on a global stage. Within recent years, I’ve had the honor of placing artist’s works in the permanent collections of esteemed institutions such as the Columbus Museum of Art, Getty Research Institute, Harvard Art Museums, Kohler Art Library at the University of Wisconsin, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, National Museum of Women in the Arts, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture.

However, challenges persist within the Black art market, including disparities in representation, valuation, and access. While strides have been made towards greater inclusivity, systemic barriers continue to hinder the full recognition and economic empowerment of African and African American artists. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including institutions, collectors, and policymakers, to foster a more equitable and inclusive art ecosystem.

I believe the current state of the Black art market is one of dynamic evolution and transformation. As it continues to evolve, it holds the promise of not only preserving and celebrating Black cultural heritage but also shaping the future of global artistic discourse.

Dr. Myrtis Bedolla

Founding Director

Galerie Myrtis



Pigment International

PIGMENT-Intl ® is a multi-media arts collective redefining global arts, culture, and innovation.