Opening Exhibition: Black Power/Flower Power

Marin Community Foundation, Novato CA, 5.19.11

The Images of Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch

Jennifer McFarland, the organizer extraordinaire of this event, invited Big Man to make opening remarks at the reception. Big Man was at his best; short, powerful, articulate speech. Our friend Jerry Whiting came from Seattle and shot video available on YouTube [ ]. Included is Big Man surrounded by a rapt gaggle of school children, moving and beautiful footage, unlike any I have seen of him before.

The Exhibit was breathtakingly beautiful. When we walked in there was an enormous billboard size copy of the postcard/invitation announcement for the event. The images were crystal clear and full of detail, like the rest of the exhibit's photos.

The show will hang at least through July, perhaps early August, and is open Mon-Fri 9-5. It’s housed in an hanger in the former Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, now renovated into commercial office space.

There are over 90 Black Panther images and approximately 60 "Flower Power" taken by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch. The Panther photos are the work of both and the Haight Ashbury photos by Baruch. All of the photos are for sale.

The show is a mix of vintage b&w prints and brand new enlargements were made from the original negatives. The new prints are very large mounted on aluminum with black frames and a white matte. Heartstopping clarity. A quote from Big Man's review of Orissa's Arend’s book is part of the display as well.

A rainbow of people attended, a totally diverse crowd traversing all real or imagined lines: artsy folks, photographers, parentsh and their children, a contingent from Marin City including some Marin City Panthers, joyful with recognition of their relatives/ friends in the photos, seen by some for the first time. There were a couple groups of schoolchildren. Both BJ (Billy X Jennings), Panther historian, educator, and archivist, preserver of the legacy, and Emory Douglas, Panther artist, ambassador, educator, sharer of the Legacy, answered multitudes of questions, informing, educating, enlightening, doing their work of preserving the Legacy, with dedication as always.

It was a really great event and the plan is to take it out on the road to other cities. This exhibit is a moving tribute to Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch who recognized the beauty around them and used their creativity and talent to share their vision with the rest of the world.

Carole Hyams