Négritude, an experimental multi-disciplinary exhibition at Exit Art, explores the visionary 20th century political and artistic movement of the same name — coined by the Martinican poet, playwright, and politician Aimé Césaire in the 1930s — which flourished among Black intellectuals in post-World War I Paris and later spread to Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.
Négritude was a celebration of shared black heritage and an affirmation and valorization of pan-African identity and was a direct response to the effects of the African slave trade, French colonization of West Africa, and the New World plantation system. The beginnings of the Afro-Caribbean movement can be traced to literary movements in Puerto Rico and Cuba through the writing of Puerto Rican poet Luis Pales Matos, whose poem Black Town was published in 1927, and the Cuban Nicolas Guillen, although Cesaire's version of Négritude would eventually eclipse them. Under the influence of Césaire, the Guianan Léon Damas, and Léopold Sédar Senghor, the future president of Senegal, Négritude became a global movement, ultimately becoming radicalized and re-envisioned as a strict rejection of the domination of “the West”.
Showcasing several generations of African-American, Caribbean, South American and African artists, performers and writers, Négritude features work that examines the history, impact, and transmutations of this cultural movement. It looks beyond the historical Négritude movement to investigate also the emergence of the Harlem Renaissance and Modernism in the 1920s and 30s and contemporary responses to the concept of “blackness, highlighting the post-Civil Rights generation of black artists who have new perspectives on racial identity and politics.
Through a series of mini-exhibitions, film screenings, performances, readings, stories and discussions, Exit Art will examine the historical effects and contemporary impact of Négritude by exploring its archipelago, island by island.
Conceived by Papo Colo. Produced by Papo Colo, Tânia Cypriano, Rose Réjouis, Franklin Sirmans, and Greg Tate.
Papo Colo, Thornton Dial, Jr., Thornton Dial, Sr., Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Arthur Jafa, Andre Justé, Vladimir Cybil Charlier Justé, Ronald Lockett, Tierney Malone, Mario Cravo Neto, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Xaviera Simmons, Purvis Young, François Ziliff
Exit Art Website