Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Rob Perrée

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Ken Doorson


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Kimathi Mafafo (b. 1984)


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Michal Worke


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The Harlem Renaissance at 100: as black as it was gay

GAYHRichard Bruce Nugent (American, 1906-1987). Dancing Figures, ca. 1935CollBrooklynMuseum

Around 1918, at the end of the First World War, an unprecedented cultural revival took place in Harlem. It made history and was known as the Harlem Renaissance. Writers, poets, artists, musicians, actors and theorists proudly showed what the New Negro was capable of. For the first time, African Americans felt valued and respected.

Much about that important period in black history has been published. For a long time, however, it was concealed that many of the Harlem Renaissance tastemakers were gay. It was thought that making that public would undermine the euphoria.

This essay by Rob Perrée is about this aspect of the Harlem Renaissance. Because of Gay Pride Month we re-publish this essay.
Richard Bruce Nugent, Dancing Figures, c. 1935, copyright Thomas Wirth

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Terry Adkins: Music Made Visible


The African American artist Terry Adkins died in 2014. At 60. He was hardly known outside of the USA. Even at home his work did not get the attention it deserved. At the moment – until June 11 – Paula Cooper Gallery in New York presents work of Adkins. Finally. A good reason to re-publish the article Rob Perrée wrote about his work in 2018.

Native Son, 2006-2015

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