Associate Professor, and Associate Chair
Department of Art History, University of Delaware
The talk will explore the deployment of art as an instrument of fear and terror in the 19th-century era of transatlantic slavery. ‘Art’ and ‘Slavery’ may seem like uncomfortable bedfellows. One typically exists in the sanitized and civilized worlds of high culture, the other engages in the arena of something rather abject. My talk nevertheless brings them together in an exploration of the depiction of captivity in southern Nigerian art, especially through the appearance of states of captivity in a specific group of southern Nigerian works. Through these objects and a construction for them of an art history of their production and reception in the light of a fuller understanding of local history, I will explore what they tell us about how different ‘classes’ of Africans understood and represented the idea of slavery.
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