KKK Kin Killin’ Kin: Chicago's DuSable Museum Exhibition Seeks Solution to Youth Violence

KKK Kin Killin’ Kin: Chicago's DuSable Museum Exhibition Seeks Solution to Youth Violence
KKK-“Kin Killin’ Kin” series at Chicago's DuSable Museum

Artist James Pate

Artist James Pate


An important new exhibit KKK-- "Kin Killin’ Kin", at Chicago's DuSable Museum of African American History hopes to find a solution to gun violence through art. The exhibition is the result of a series of works by artist James Pate starting as a "personal private protest" in 2000 comparing black on black terrorism to Ku Klux Klan terrorism.  The concept, according to Pate came directly from conversations in the black community about how black-on-black violence has replaced the KKK form of terrorism.

KKK – “Kin Killin’ Kin” is a powerful and thought-provoking series of images that reflect artist James Pate’s deep love and even greater concern for the epidemic of youth violence in the African American community. If he were a singer, he would sing about it. If he were a dancer, he would dance about it. If he were a journalist, he would join the thousands who write about it. James Pate is a master visual artist who has directed his artistic vision to one of the most critical social ills of our time…youth violence.

Viewing Pate's art that depicts shooters in pointed hoods in the ‘hood’ is chilling. Pate is hoping that by revealing these powerful negative images people will pause and reflect and this will lead to positive solutions.

The series--all black and white renderings with the exception on one positive image in color--ranges from flying bullets to children caught in crossfire. The works force the viewer to deal with an uncomfortable subject matter head-on. To bridge the generation gap, Pate’s iconography includes historical references to the demonstrations of the Civil Rights Movement and to ancient Africa. Connecting with youth groups, Pate hopes to spark much needed dialog about the violence issue. “The telling of our stories via visual art and popular culture not only means recovering the historical ones but imagining the epic ones to come.”

Pate’s powerful images are a visual call-to-action to find solutions to youth and community in acknowledging that harsh reality of gun violence, and to dialogue positive alternatives and solutions toward negative behavior.  The Black-on-Black violence epidemic is an issue that has long been vocalized, but rarely been the subject of visual art. “It is often said that we, in a ‘strange-fruit’ kind of way, are doing that business of the KKK with our black-on-black violence,” says Pate.

kkk1Pate’s self-described “Techo-Cubist” craft teases the eye. He uses the medium of charcoal coupled with the techniques of illusion, shadow, juxtaposition, shape and perspectives. Drawn in a style akin to film storyboards and comic strips, his KKK images are no laughing matter. Each portrays a specific act or consequence of brutality.

Although generally the exhibition is drawing praise, it is not without controversy with some feeling shame and embarrassment while accusing Pate of  "airing out dirty laundry". The exhibition will run through November 20, 2013.

Hours and Information

The DuSable Museum of African American History is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.. Admission is $10 for adults ($8 for Chicago residents), $7 for students and senior citizens ($5 for Chicago residents) $3 for children ages 6 through 11 ($2 for Chicago residents) and children 5 years of age and younger are admitted free. Sundays are free to all. It is located at 740 East 56th Place, The Museum may be reached by CTA buses #3, #4 and #55 and free parking is also available on the premises. KKK-- "Kin Killin’ Kin" runs now thru November 20, 2013.

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