When We See Us: A Century of Black Painting
Koyo Kouoh (Ed.)
Zeitz MOCAA, CapeTown &Thames & Hudson, 2023
Published to accompany a major exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, CapeTown, When We See Us presents a comprehensive exploration of Black representation through portraiture and figuration, celebrating Black subjectivity and Black consciousness from Pan-African and Pan-Diasporic perspectives.
In the past decade, figurative painting by Black artists has risento a new prominence in the field of contemporary art. This timely and revelatory book highlights the many ways in which artists critically engage with notions of blackness, contributing to the critical discourse on topics such as Pan-Africanism, the Civil Rights Movement, African Liberation and Independence movements, the Anti-Apartheid and Black Consciousness mobilizations, Decoloniality, and Black Lives Matter.
With a primary focus on figurative painting, When We See Us explores how Black artists have imagined, positioned, memorialized, and asserted African and African diasporic experiences from the early 20th century to the present day. Featuring more than 200 works of art—and contributions from well-known writers such as Ken Bugul, Maaza Mengiste, Robin Coste Lewis, and Bill Kouelany—When We See Us is a major contribution to our understanding of Black art that will appeal to anyone interested in modern and contemporary figurative art and Black cultural history.