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Arles 2024 : Centre de la photographie de Mougins : Stephen Shames : Comrade Sisters / les Panthères noires


The Centre de la photographie de Mougins presents the exhibition Stephen Shames : Comrade Sisters / les Panthères noires. François Cheval, the curator, presents it as follows:

Stephen Shames was 20 years old when, while studying at Berkeley, he came into contact with the premises of what would become the Black Panther Party. From then on, he accompanied the emancipation movement of the black American until its dissolution. Benefiting from the friendship of the main leaders, in particular, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, the photographer, with complete freedom, was able to report on all the forms of a political organisation that wished to participate in every moment of the Afro -American community, from food aid to education, from health to security. A little-known aspect of the Black Panther Party, which these photographs highlight, is the place occupied by the activists within the organization. Women, some of whom acquired a certain notoriety (Gloria Abernethy, Evon Carter, Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Davis, Ericka Huggins, Adrienne Humphrey) were on the front line and in all the battles. They are the ones who set up free breakfasts for schoolchildren, medical clinics, schools, distributed the press, etc. Of all ages, from all backgrounds, they made up two-thirds of the organization’s activists. Speakers and presenters, these activists wanted to redefine the role of women in the organisation itself! Which gives an original color to this story, gives it a particular tone. This exhibition, as Angela Davis points out, “reminds us that women were literally at the heart of this new political approach to black freedom.”

François Cheval


“Stephen   Shames   : Comrade Sisters / les Panthères noires” is the first exhibition in an African-American trilogy, followed by those of Bayeté Ross Smith and Kwame Brathwaite.

This exhibition is part of the Rencontres d’Arles program as part of the Grand Arles Express.

Stephen Shames : Comrade Sisters / les Panthères noires
June 28 – October 6, 2024
Centre de la photographie de Mougins 43 rue de l’Église
06250 Mougins
04 22 21 52 12

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