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Renowned writer Jamaica Kincaid and groundbreaking visual artist Rosana Paulino will discuss their explorations of the legacies of slavery in their work. They will be joined in conversation by eminent art historian Cheryl Finley.
This is the third session of Art Museums and the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade: Curating Histories, Envisioning Futures, presented by the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Harvard Art Museums, and Harvard University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. This four-part program explores efforts by art museums to deploy their spaces and their collections—which are often enmeshed with colonialism and exploitation—to present more complete narratives of and perspectives on slavery and its legacies.
David J. Roxburgh, Department Chair and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Rachel Burke, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Jamaica Kincaid is one of the most highly acclaimed writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Her works include Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter, as well as her classic history of Antigua, A Small Place, and the memoir My Brother. Her first book, the collection of stories At the Bottom of the River, won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Kincaid was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004. She has received a Guggenheim Award, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Prix Femina Étranger, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Clifton Fadiman Medal, and the Dan David Prize for Literature. She is currently Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University.
Rosana Paulino is a São Paulo–based artist whose work focuses on the position of Black women in Brazilian society. Her prints, drawings, sculptures, installations, and assemblages explore and express the physical and emotional violence suffered because of racism and the many legacies of slavery. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and the Museu Afro Brasil, and she has participated in numerous exhibitions in Brazil as well as in France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, and the United States. Paulino was awarded a Ford Foundation International Fellowship in 2006 and a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Fellowship in 2014. She holds a doctorate from the University of São Paulo.
Cheryl Finley is director of the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art History at Spelman College. A visionary leader committed to engaging strategic partners to transform the art and culture industry, she leads an innovative undergraduate program at the world’s largest historically Black college and university (HBCU) consortium in preparing the next generation of African American museum and visual arts professionals. She is a curator, contemporary art critic, and award-winning author noted for Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (2018), the first in-depth study of the most famous image associated with the memory of slavery—a schematic engraving of a packed slave ship hold—and the art, architecture, poetry, and film it has inspired since its creation in Britain in 1788.
This program will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.
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Separate registration is required for each portion of the program.
Art Museums and the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade: Curating Histories, Envisioning Futures is organized by Sarah Mallory, Kéla Jackson, and Rachel Burke, all doctoral students in Harvard University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture, and Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Curatorial Fellow in the Division of European and American Art, at the Harvard Art Museums.
Student research informing this conference was supported by a student grant from the presidential initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, a university-wide effort housed at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.