The American Jewish Historical Society will celebrate the opening of Black Panther Got Loose from the Bronx Zoo: an Exhibition by Ido Michaeli with an evening of poetry performances in English, Hebrew and Arabic on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 pm in the Forchheimer Auditorium at the AJHS (15 West 16th Street).
Based on a 1902 New York Times article, Black Panther Got Loose tells the true story of a panther that escaped from the Bronx Zoo and, after struggling with police, jumped into the Bronx River and swam away. The exhibit, on view at the AJHS through April, consists of a hand-woven tapestry and a video chronicling the story and the making of this project.
The scene depicts cops, in the urban space of the Bronx, trying to hunt down the panther, and the panic of passersby. At the time, the Bronx was considered “the Jewish Borough,” and the Bronx Park was also notorious for caging Ota Benga in 1906. An allegory for joint and separate struggles for justice and a reminder of the legacies of the Black Panthers movement in the U.S. and its influence on the Mizrahi Black Panther movement in Israel/Palestine. The work alludes to issues of police brutality, gentrification and resistance, and to questions of historical narratives, political identification, flight, displacement, refuge, and home, more broadly.
The exhibit celebrates Black History Month, the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers Movement and the 45th anniversary of the Mizrahi Black Panthers Movement.
Tickets for Opening Night are on a pay-what-you-wish basis. Suggested donation is $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors and AJHS members.