Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘The Swarm’ festival comes to the Downtown Independent on Saturday


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If you ask a certain subset of American male, aged 25-35, about the mythology of the Wu-Tang Clan, you’re apt to get an answer as thorough as a history professor waxing poetic about the American Revolution.

After all, like George Washington at Valley Forge, the RZA was able to lead his clan out of the cold weather of Shaolin (Staten Island), shared a love of the initial ‘W’ and could be aptly described as ‘first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’


So it’s little surprise that the painting above, commissioned by WAIL (When Art Imitates Life) would riff on Emanuel Leutze’s famous portrait of George Washington crossing the Delaware. Depicting RZA, GZA, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard in colonial regalia, the painting will be displayed at this Saturday’s ‘The Swarm’ film and art festival. Held at the Downtown Independent Theater from 3 p.m. until 2 a.m., the daylong celebration of the Wu will also include a screening of the ODB documentary, ‘Dirty,’ and performances from Wu-Tang satellite groups Black Knights and Birds of Prey (West Coast Killa Bees).

According to WAIL, ‘the painting, ‘Victory Or Death,’ comes in two collections. Prints in the 300-edition Legacy Series measure 40” x 30”, and all carry RZA’s signature and handprints, applied in acrylic paint. All are numbered and signed in order of generation, and each come with a RZA image disc and authenticity placard. The 60 pieces in the Monument Series come with all the features of the Legacy, but the pieces contain a total of 50 hidden elements to the Legacy’s 36. Moreover, the Monument clocks in at two times the size – a whopping 80 x 60.’

For those downtown residents seeking piece and quiet this Saturday, they might be well served to protect their necks and prepare for the swarm.

-- Jeff Weiss