This major new study of Black figurative art and self-representation from Africa and the African diaspora features more than 200 paintings by 161 artists. These carefully selected works explore the many ways in which artists have imagined, positioned, remembered and asserted African and diasporic experiences from the early 20th century to now. In particular, they demonstrate how painters have contributed to the ongoing discussions around pan-Africanism, civil rights, African liberation and independence, the Anti-Apartheid and Black Consciousness movements, Black Lives Matter and, more recently, Afropolitanism.
A series of thematic sections – on subjects such as sensuality, spirituality and emancipation – is interspersed with specially commissioned stories and poems by leading writers Ken Bugul, Maaza Mengiste, Bill Kouélany and Robin Coste Lewis. These percipient reflections on the Black experience work with the paintings to deepen the debate about Black subjectivity.
The book coincides with a landmark exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), Cape Town.