Racialization, representation, and resistance : Black visual artists and the production of alterity

by Bonnie Claudia Harrison

Institution: University of Texas – Austin
Department: Anthropology
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Black visual representation; Black social and cultural politics; Black visual artists; Images of blackness; Racialization; Black alterity
Record ID: 2058747
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/29598


Racialization, Representation, and Resistance: Black Visual Artists and the Production of Alterity queries the relationship between Black visual representation and Black social and cultural politics. For the past two centuries Black visual artists throughout the African Diaspora have painted, sculpted, and filmed images of blackness inspired, funded, and otherwise supported by progressive patrons and institutions. Largely produced outside of mainstream art worlds, these visual representations focused on Black social and cultural politics and Black alterity more than mainstream tastes or stereotypes. As the coherence of Black social and political movements and resources declined in the late twentieth century, however, commercialization and the mainstream art world had increasing influence on Black visual culture. These changes created intense resistance and debate about the politics of visual representation throughout the Black Atlantic, particularly in the United States, Cuba, and the United Kingdom. Ethnographic observations, interviews, and gallery talks with artists in these three nations, including John Yancey, Vicky Meek, Marcus Akinlana, Kara Walker, Michael Ray Charles, Gloria Rolando, Anissa Cockings, and Andrew Sinclair, along with cultural and historical comparisons, provide fresh insight into the relationship between Black visual representation and contemporary Black social and cultural politics.