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The Screen, from the series "Born Hip"

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Billy Abernathy
American, 1938-2017

About this artwork

Among the most influential figures in Chicago’s Black Arts Movement, Billy (Fundi) Abernathy is known for creating images that defined Black confidence, elegance, and style. This work extended to his collaborations with his wife, Sylvia (Laini) Abernathy, with whom he designed album covers for Delmark Records in the 1960s. Around that time, the poet and author Amiri Baraka (born LeRoi Jones) encountered Fundi’s photographs of Chicago and proposed a book project that would combine his poetry with Fundi’s images. The resulting collaboration, In Our Terribleness (Some Elements and Meaning in Black Style), designed by Laini and published in 1970, is both a statement about Black aesthetics and a call to action by the Black Power movement. As Baraka proclaimed, “Our terribleness is our survival as beautiful beings, anywhere.” The Screen and Mother’s Day both appeared in In Our Terribleness. In 1971 the New York Times hailed the book as “an example of the new direction that black art is taking.”


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Photography and Media


Billy Abernathy


The Screen, from the series "Born Hip"


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1967


Gelatin silver print


Image/paper: 18.8 × 12.7 cm (7 7/16 × 5 in.); Mount: 55.9 × 45.8 cm (22 1/16 × 18 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Illinois Arts Council

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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