E-mail This Page


Artistic Crossings of the Black Atlantic:
The Migratory Aesthetic in Contemporary Art

Saturday, March 1, 2008
9:00 am

This symposium invited five acclaimed artists—multi-media artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, sculptor Willie Cole, British filmmaker Isaac Julien, photographer Hank Willis Thomas, and installation artist and MacArthur Fellow Fred Wilson—to discuss the Black Atlantic aesthetic. Through transatlantic connections among Africa, Britain, the Caribbean, and the United States, black intellectuals and literary figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Richard Wright fashioned a Black Atlantic culture that made a central contribution to the modernist aesthetic. Today this Black Atlantic aesthetic extends into the realm of the visual as international artists critically engage cross-Atlantic migration as a principal focus of their work.

Each presentation was followed by a moderated discussion.

Isaac Julien
Moderator: Kobena Mercer

Fred Wilson
Moderator: Francesca T. Royster

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
Moderator: C. Ondine Chavoya

Willie Cole and Hank Willis Thomas
Moderator: Natasha Becker and Leslie Wingard

*In spirit of this event, participants traveled to the Williams College Museum of Art to view the exhibitions, Unchained Legacies and William Kentridge Prints.