The relationship between the state and the Black subject is, in many ways, still a highly contested one. What can we draw from historic imagery in order to move forward?
In this HENI Talk, Dr Mark Sealy examines black identity during moments of social upheaval and confrontation, as represented in the oeuvre of artist Omar Victor Diop. In his photographic portraits, Diop uses his own body to restage charged moments in history in a quest for us to look at and learn from these events afresh. His work encourages the viewer to question the narrative of history that we are traditionally taught and see Black people themselves as the agents of change – exploring, for example, the role of Black enslaved people during the first major revolt in Haiti in the 1790s, or the grassroots dimension of the US civil rights movement in the 1960s, or the often hidden presence of Black women in the history of activism.
Press play to hear some of the ways the framing of Black identity through history has hindered, obscured and liberated the lives of many people across the globe.