African Diaspora

About

Throughout the 20th century, artists (mostly of African descent) have critically addressed the historical and contemporary migration of culture, products, and bodies from the African continent. “Diaspora” typically refers to populations scattered involuntarily or forced to leave their homeland, and the African Diaspora includes Africans and Blacks forcefully displaced by the slave trade. As this brutal chapter in world history has had long-reaching social consequences, artists who take the African Diaspora as their subject matter may also deal with the development of post-colonial African nations, or, more broadly, the transnational quality of Black culture at large in the modern world. Often informed by Pan-Africanism, or the solidarity of African peoples worldwide, aesthetic approaches to the African Diaspora may critique the economies of the transatlantic slave trade, histories of colonialism and its legacies, as well as celebrate the cultural and artistic accomplishments of people of African descent (directly countering the alignment of African art with Primitivism, a trend amongst European modern artists like Pablo Picasso and the German Expressionist group Die Brücke). Today, the Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu explores themes related to African women and diaspora, while the British artist Chris Ofili, born to Nigerian parents, incorporates European and Nigerian aesthetics into his interrogation of race.