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The Becoming

jamaal barber

"The Becoming" 

"The Becoming" 

Around Malcolm X's birthday I always see the photos of him in the window with the AK, or the hand to face or the any means necessary memes. To me the story of Malcolm X at its core is about transformation. Malcolm Little was very much like every other black man in america, dealing with the racism and the struggle to survive. He was locked up because of the bad choices he made and got caught in the system. He received a letter in prison said, "Malcolm don't eat any more pork and don't smoke anymore cigarettes. I'll show you how to get out of prison."  That was a powerful thing for him and for me to read. When the time came he got presented with a way to truly get himself out and away from his circumstance by changing his mind set. By acknowledging a power and a truth greater than himself he got out of his mental prison. All the other brothers in the background are in the same circumstance and Malcolm is showing them how to get out of prison. 

"The Becoming" (Special Edition)

"The Becoming" (Special Edition)

The special edition print of "The Becoming" shows more of the context of the piece. It has the text of the letter that started him on his path and an exert from his autobiography that talked about how he finally had to get on his knees and pray to Allah. Definitely a powerful moment. 

This is the beginning of a new wave of work for me that brings mixed media into the work. There is collage, paint, pencil, screen printing and some wood work. A bold new direction for sure.  I hope you like it.