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RIGO 23 recently accompanied Robert H. King (formerly one of the Angola 3, now released), Emory Douglas (printer and legend of revolutionary graphic art) and Billy X Jennings (you HAVE to click that link!), three veterans of the Black Panther Party, on their recent trip to Porto and Lisbon in Portugal.

RIGO emailed:

“Here’s a little clip from the mural I painted at a housing complex south of the River Tejo in Lisbon to commemorate the visit to their community by Robert, Emory and Billy. Robert is a survivor of 29 1/2 years of solitary confinement; Emory Douglas was the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party.”

I have mentioned RIGO’s art in support of US political prisoners before. His TRUTH mural in San Francisco marked Robert H. King’s 2001 quashed conviction. RIGO continues to advocate for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, the remaining Angola 2.

He supports Mumia’s ongoing legal battles and RIGO also recently joined Michelle Vignes – a true matriarch of radical documentary photography – for an exhibition in solidarity with Leonard Peltier. (Details and review of the show at the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse, NY. Closed Feb. 6th)

RIGO conceived of the space as an imaginary museum – The Tate Wikikuwa Museum: North America 2024. Tate Wikikuwa is Leonard Peltier’s Lakota name and 2024 is the year of his next parole hearing. It showcases arts & crafts by the Oglala Sioux and Peltier’s paintings, as well as documents, books, writings and educational material. Making use of Peltier’s colour choices, RIGO created a spiritually and politically charged space.

I would have loved to have seen Vignes’ prints of Peltier and the AIM Movement exhibited within the mood set by RIGO’s installation.

For such an important photographer of America’s West Coast counter cultures and radical movements, Vignes does not have a large web presence; there is a paucity of reviews and there are few images too. Next time I’m in the Bay Area, I will have to pay a visit to UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library which acquired her archives in 2003.

Look out for more about Michelle Vignes on Prison Photography in the future.

Photo Credits: All images David Broda

(Found via Just Seeds and Bob Gumpert)

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I just came across one of Rigo‘s works in a book about prisons, but I can’t find it online so I wanted to share that which I could find.

I wondered if Rigo had done anything else. Turns out he has and he’s passionate about criminal justice abuses. Aside of his piece above in support of Mumia Abu Jamal*, Rigo has done works to rally support for America’s other most famous political prisoner, Leonard Peltier*.

Rigo also painted TRUTH (2002), an epic mural on Market Street in San Francisco, which I used to cycle past most days a without knowing its reason for being. It commemorates the 2001 quashed conviction of Robert H. King, one of the Angola 3, after 32 years of incarceration, 29 of which were spent in solitary confinement.

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* Yes, I know I could have chosen from thousands of links for Mumia and Peltier, but I chose their Twitter profiles with my eyes open to how bizarre it is. I have wondered if we live in a post-revolutionary world in which our radicals are reduced to blips of 140 characters, but then I figure the famous and infamous of the past have always survived on soundbites. I guess I ask that you use Mumia’s and Peltier’s Twitter feeds as one of many starting points for learning about their cases.

 

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