The African diaspora – a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade and Western colonialism – has generated a wide array of artistic achievements, from blues and reggae, to the paintings of the pioneering African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner and video creations of contemporary hip-hop artists. This book concentrates on how these works, often created during times of major social upheaval and transformation, use black culture both as a subject and as context. From musings on “the souls of black folk” in late nineteenth-century art, to questions of racial and cultural identities in performance, media, and computer-assisted arts in the twenty-first century, this book examines the philosophical and social forces that have shaped a black presence in modern and contemporary visual culture.
Now updated, this new edition helps us understand better how the first two decades of the twenty-first century have been a transformative moment in which previous assumptions about race, difference, and identity have been irrevocably altered, with art providing a useful lens through which to think about these compelling issues.
With 218 illustrations in colour