The “Black Atlantic” is a cultural and geographic concept coined in 1993 by Paul Gilroy, and proposes a theory of the African diaspora that addresses points of origin obscured by slave trade and forced displacement, drawing identity from the bonds formed in the course of transport across the Atlantic Ocean. As Gilroy would have it, this produced “a culture that is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once, a black Atlantic culture whose themes and techniques transcend ethnicity and nationality to produce something new …”

In a show that opened earlier this year at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Afterlives of the Black Atlantic teases out aesthetics and individual visions that arise from this context. The show was co-curated by Andrea Gyorody, Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Matthew Francis Rarey, Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic, and Oberlin’s first African Diasporic specialist.

...