Oberlin’s Allen Art Museum Explores the “Black Atlantic” Slave Trade

Fri 9/6 @ 5:30PM

The Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin — which you should really make a trip out to see if you never have — has just opened Afterlives of the Black Atlantic, which takes the occasion of what’s often called the 400th anniversary of slavery in America to take a look at the history of slavery across the Atlantic.

It recalls how “the slave trade transformed the Atlantic Ocean from a formidable barrier into an unprecedented highway for forced human dispersal and cultural reinvention. In the largest forced migration in human history, ships transported 12 million captive Africans across the Atlantic — not counting the millions who perished on the journey. In the Americas, nearly 80 percent of all new arrivals before 1820 were born in Africa, while in Africa, stark population loss radically altered local societies.”

The works in the exhibit, curated by Andrea Gyorody, the museum’s Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Matthew Francis Rarey, assistant professor of the arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic in the Department of Art at Oberlin College, features works by artists from the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa to explore identity, belonging and memory and how they are impacted by the slavetrade. Much of the show is drawn from the Allen’s formidable collection of both contemporary work and historical objects, enhanced by several loans. Artists in the show include Belkis Ayón, José Bedia, Dawoud Bey, Willie Cole, Leonardo Drew, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Wangechi Mutu, Vik Muniz, Robert Pruitt, Kameelah Janan Rasheed,Alison Saar, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, and Fred Wilson.

The show also features a commissioned site-specific work by Afro-Cuban artist José Rodríguez, who will be at the museum of an opening program and reception as he is installing his altar in the galleries on Fro 9/6 @ 5:30pm when the galleries will remain open until 7:30.

The show remains on view through May 24, 2020.


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2 Responses to “Oberlin’s Allen Art Museum Explores the “Black Atlantic” Slave Trade”

  1. Carolyn P Cacho Bowman

    Excellent, thought- provoking exhibit despite a few questionable entries

  2. Carolyn P Cacho Bowman

    Appreciated Walker’s tour. Disappointed that there is no catalogue and no cards!

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