1 Million Roses for Angela Davis

Few East Germans over the age of fifty fail to remember the state-organized solidarity campaign calling for the release of the US philosopher, communist and Black Power activist Angela Davis. “A million roses for Angela” was the motto of a postcard campaign in 1970-72 in support of Davis, who at the time was being held under terrorism charges. 

  • DATES 10/10/2020—30/05/2021

[Translate to English:] In der DDR

The large-scale campaign firmly anchored the activist within the cultural memory of the GDR, which — in this critical phase of the Cold War — sought to position itself by asserting its commitment to the comrade. In the GDR, the media spun Davis as the “heroine of the other America” and after her acquittal she was welcomed as a state guest. For her part, Angela Davis had hoped for an internationalist movement promoting a socialist, feminist, and non-racist democracy — the antithesis of her experiences of violence and oppression as a Black woman in the USA. This moment of hope provides the historical starting point for the exhibition, which features contemporary works by international artists.

© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Laura Fiorio
Exhibition view "1 Million Roses for Angela Davis"

[Translate to English:] Impressionen

[Translate to English:] Die Werke

These works focus on the issues that the now emeritus professor campaigned on at the time, which are still pressing today, and thereby initiate discussion about the background, flaws, and unfulfilled potential of this unusual relationship between Davis and the GDR. In photographs, videos, sculptures, sound installations, and conceptual works, some of which are new commissions for this exhibition, a young generation of artists focus attention both on Davis’ ongoing commitment to social justice and her struggle against racism and sexism, as well as on how her iconic image came to be inscribed within a global history of resistance.

[Translate to English:] Werke


Yael Bartana, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sophie Calle, Contemporary And, Sadie Barnette, CHTO DELAT?, Melvin Edwards, Ângela Ferreira, Bernhard Franke, Coco Fusco, Ellen Gallagher, Claudia Martínez Garay, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Arthur Jafa, Steffani Jemison & Justin Hicks (Mikrokosmos), Iris Kensmil, Hassan Khan, Kapwani Kiwanga, Raja Lubinetzki & Petra Schramm, Julie Mehretu, Heinz-Detlef Moosdorf, Senga Nengudi, Ahmet Öğüt, Slavs and Tatars, Julia Phillips, Alex Martinis Roe, Elske Rosenfeld, Anri Sala, Willi Sitte, Cauleen Smith, Nancy Spero, Gabriele Stötzer, Strawalde (Jürgen Böttcher), Nasan Tur, Lewis Watts, Carrie Mae Weems, Christoph Wetzel, Charles White, Heinz Wodzicka

Online Programme

In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York, the digital programme 1 Million Roses for Angela Davis U.S. Edition takes the postcard campaign as an opportunity to work with contemporary artists, curators and scholars to take a look at a forgotten and often contradictory chapter of the relationship between Germany and the United States and to renegotiate questions about solidarity, activism and ideology in changing times. Running until September 2021, the digital event series includes a reading group with texts on Angela Davis, a film programme, an artistic lecture-performance, as well as several panel discussions and a listening session.

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Publication accompanying the exhibition

1 Million Rosen for Angela Davis

edited by: Kathleen Reinhardt, texts by Nikita Dhawan, Kata Krasznahorkai, Sophie Lorenz, Doreen Mende, Peggy Piesche, Kathleen Reinhardt, Maria Schubert, Hilke Wagner, and Jamele Watkins and an interview with Angela Davis, 2020, Mousse Publishing, German/English, 272 pages, softcover, ISBN 978-88-6749-439-2, € 27 / $ 30

Information for journalists

Media Information

You will find high-resolution press photos and further information in our press area.

Partners and Sponsors

funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

[Translate to English:] 2 Förderer

links: weißen Wappen auf blauen Untergrund, rechts: Schriftzug Königreich der Niederlande

[Translate to English:] 3 Förderer

Media Partner

[Translate to English:] weitere

Further Exhibitions
02/10/2020 —18/04/2021


in Residenzschloss

Portrait eines Mannes mit Hut und Vollbart
27/06/2020 —01/11/2020

Beauty of Form

in Schloss Pillnitz

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