"We have the freedom to do whatever we wish. Nothing is impossible. We have survived, simply by being born in the right place at the right time. In western culture, we easily forget how quickly things can be taken from us."
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts Paris 7 University, Amphitheater Musée du quai Branly
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Deborah Willis, Awam Amkpa, Manthia Diawara, Lydie Diakhaté, Cheryl Finley, Thelma Golden, Anne-Christine Taylor-Descola, Anna Laban, Christine Barthe, Jean-Paul Colleyn, Caroline Montel-Glénisson, and Raissa Lahcine
Paris. an internationally key and highly influential Western space in all things concerning the arts and modernity, is the perfect stage for Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West, the fifth in a series of conferences organized by Harvard University and NYU since 2004. Black Portraiture[s} explores ideas of the production of self-representation, desire, and the exchange of the gaze from the 19th century to the present day in fashion, film, art, and the archives. How do these images, both positive and negative, define, replicate, and transform the black body? Why and how does the black body become a commodity in the global marketplace and what are its legacies? Also, importantly, what are the responses and implications? How can performing blackness be liberating for performer and audience? How the black body has been imagined in the West has always been a rich site for global examination and contestation. The depiction of black peoples often has been governed by prevailing attitudes about race and sexuality. The conference will draw on the ideas and works of leading and emerging writers, photographers, scholars, artists, curators and filmmakers of our time and will include a broader discussion of Africa in the popular imagination.
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