Olaleye Communications, Inc

“The last great initiative of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Poor People’s Campaign attempted to broaden the civil rights movement to include economic justice for disadvantaged people of all races. Conceived in November 1967, it began after King’s assassination in April 1968. The centerpiece of the campaign was mass civil disobedience in Washington by an army of protesters including National Welfare Rights Organization members, and in mid-May they set up an encampment on the Mall dubbed “Resurrection City.”

Photo Gallery

Artist Statement

I see my mission as a visual artist as presenting what has been seen before in new and provocative ways, while thinking about what is presented in ways not seen or thought of before. My work evolves from the mission of Olaleye Communications, Inc., which I founded in 1986 to distribute educational, visual, and cultural information pertaining to the African experience and the experiences of people of color; to be a resource base for young people and schools, institutions, educators, artists, historians, and scholars; and to implement projects and activities that bring this expanded world view of Africanisms or African Cultural Retentions to the Commonwealth and beyond. My purpose is to raise the consciousness of all people to the value of our common African heritage, and to provide specific visual images about what that heritage is while demonstrating how pervasive those images are. A manifestation of this vision has been the development of what I term Afro-Ethnographs: any visual creation that reflects traditional and contemporary African values while representing the highest standard of that medium.

Prints shown in the gallery or on the website, are available as archival pigment, iris or silver prints in black and white or color in the following sizes: 11” x 14”,16” x 20”, 20” x 30”, 24” x 36”, 30” x 40” and, as murals. Archival pigment prints are resilient to the environmental elements that commonly degrade and erode dye molecules shortening the life of a print. Iris prints are digital prints on archival watercolor paper using a method which sprays ink for an extremely color saturated, painterly look. C-prints, silver prints and cibachromes are prints on very stable substrates and are from scans of analog or digital images. All prints are signed, dated and numbered. For prices of prints exhibited or on the web site, please contact the artist.

Photographs by Reginald L. Jackson, PhD

Awon Orisa is an exhibition of 50 large photographs that depict the natural domains and rituals of the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. This traveling multimedia presentation is assisted by a curriculum for school children and is opened and closed with traditional African celebrations.

An Exhibition The Orisha* are African deities of the Yoruba tradition. This exhibit demonstrates that Africanisms or African retentions exist in abundance in the Americas, and that these Africanisms are of immense value to our society.

The educational component consists of a curriculum that is geared to any educational level. Opening and closing performances/ceremonies, in concert with the exhibition, occur with support from traditional African religious leaders and the students of the educational institutions that Awon Orisa is involved in.

If you would like to have any part of this program at your school or organization use the e-mail button below or call (857)389-8986

*Anglicized spelling
This exhibit is produced by Olaleye Communications Inc. and features photographs by Reginald L. Jackson, Ph.D.

Dr. Reginald L. Jackson/ 1968/16mm black and white film, Executive Producer /Director

A youth oriented architectural and educational video, utilizing vintage footage from the 60’s at Yale University’s school of Art and Architecture

In 1968, when he was a Graphic Design graduate student at Yale University, Reginald was a founding member of a group of African-American graduate students called the Black Workshop, comprised primarily of students studying architecture and city planning. At that time, he produced and directed a 16 mm, twenty-minute, black and white film called One Way, documenting the formation of the group. The students came together to challenge the traditional curriculum at Yale. One Way dramatizes their belief that art and architecture as taught in universities was not value-free and their belief that challenging the educational establishment was necessary to force it to confront assumptions underlying the curriculum, assumptions that were too often subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly racist.

The independent design group the students formed, the Black Workshop, evolved into one of the earliest community development centers in the country. The Black Workshop Film project will provide a look at some of the members of the Black Workshop more than 40 years later. This project is in its early developmental stage and hopes to shed light on the aspirations, hopes and fears of this group once referred to as “the only group of students to have achieved so much upon graduation from Yale.”

From “Sighting Memory” Exhibition/Cape Coast Castle. 2001 Dr. Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang

“Memory is many things. It is an intangible repository of existence, a mental capacity, a faculty to retain action and impression, as well as method to make narrative of all our days. We immortalize our humanity when we remember. The Akan say that God is a permanent imprint in human mind, which is why it has never been necessary to prove God’s existence even to a child.

The irony is that it is often by defying what has been historically given, that we become the proper carriers of our history. This is the idea that gives meaning to Sankofa. By clarifying the living link between the past and the present, Sankofa enjoins us to examine our reasons for its use.

The history of African slavery is an especially difficult one, because it bristles with so much that is irredeemably evil. If we are not careful we may point to Africa’s history of the slave experience and with our left hand summarize that history only in themes of only Africa’s enslavement by Europe. But that would be wrong-headed. That our ancestors were enslaved does not make slavery our heritage. It is more reasonable and truer to the history to consider the ancestors’ unbroken resistance to enslavement as our proper heritage. What should define the African’s identity, whether in Africa or in the diaspora, is not the inhumanity of slavery but the huge human strength and heroism it provoked in the African. This is the charge of this work, to humanize the inhumanity of slavery.

Without such a perspective to keep memory honest, the tendency will be to privilege the misery of victimhood. We would feel ashamed of things we cannot feel, and we would find ourselves slaughtering sheep to atone for inhuman sins that, as mere humans, we cannot truly fathom.”

Please e-mail comments and questions to Dr. Reginald L. Jackson, reginald.jackson@simmons.edu