The lecture “Ambivalent Aesthetics: West Indians, Garveyites and the ‘New Negro Art’ of the 1920s and 1930s” will be Thursday, February 21, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the MSC Forsyth Galleries at Texas A&M University.
Production and consumption of art were vital tools in the struggle for collective self-representation that underscored the emergence of the “New Negro” in the beginning of the twentieth century. The diverse creations of the New Negro Art validated and highlighted the African past of African Americans while situating them at the center of contemporary American life and culture. At the same time that African American artists, scholars and activists were advocating this hybrid art movement, immigrants from Caribbean British colonies (the West Indies) were grappling with their multiple identities as British subjects and Blacks in America. Nevertheless, as staunch adherents of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded by Jamaican Marcus Garvey, many West Indians were in the forefront of Black Nationalism and the celebration of black aesthetics. This presentation will describe, discuss and illustrate the immigrants’ conflicting encounters with American “New Negro Art” while balancing imperial belonging and the Black immigrant experience.
Violet M. Showers Johnson is Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies. She is the author of The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950.
Location: 2nd Floor of the Memorial Student Center in the Forsyth Center Galleries
Contact: Trudy Six: 979-845-9251 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring your lunch. FREE EVENT!