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George Jackson

  • Object:

    Screenprint

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1971 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Xavier, Llewellyn, born 1945 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screenprint on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:

    E.3020-2007

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2G, shelf DR54, box MP325

Llewellyn Xavier (born 1945, St Lucia) is an internationally renowned printmaker and was one of a number of Black artists in the UK in the 1970s producing work that engaged directly with political issues and especially with discrimination and police brutality against Black immigrants. He made lithographs, screenprints and mail art, using imagery drawn from photographs and the news media to explore controversial real-life cases.

Most famously he made a series of 11 screenprints about the case of George Jackson, an African American inmate of California’s notorious Soledad Prison. Jackson’s imprisonment became something of an international cause célèbre, and Xavier corresponded with him for a time. Jackson (born 1941) had been imprisoned aged 16, having been accused of stealing $71 from a gas station, and was given an indeterminate sentence of one year to life. His sentence was reviewed annually but in fact he was never released. He was politicised by this experience of discrimination and became an activist leader of the Black and Chicano prisoners in Soledad. In January 1970, Jackson was one of three men accused of murdering a white guard (in response to the killing of 3 Black Muslim prisoners). In August, after being transferred to San Quentin, and three days before he was due to stand trial Jackson was killed by prison guards. The official report into the incident accused him of participating in a prison revolt earlier the same day, but there were conflicting accounts of the incident.

Xavier’s prints, made in 1971 are a commemoration of Jackson, and a savage indictment of the system which made him a martyr and a hero for the Black Power Movement. He includes parts of his own correspondence with Jackson, with prison stamps, and the responses of those to whom he wrote about Jackson’s case (including Jean Genet, Peter Hain, James Baldwin and John Lennon).

Physical description

Screenprint.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (probably, made)

Date

1971 (made)

Artist/maker

Xavier, Llewellyn, born 1945 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Screenprint on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'32/75 Xavier/71'
Edition number; signature; date; all in pencil

Dimensions

Height: 78.7 cm, Width: 58.4 cm

Descriptive line

Print, screenprint on paper from the 'George Jackson' series by Llewellyn Xavier, probably made in the UK, 1971

Materials

Paper; Printing ink

Techniques

Screenprinting; Screenprint

Subjects depicted

Imprisonment; Black Power; Activism

Categories

African Diaspora; Black History; Propaganda; Politics; Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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