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Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

Art Exhibition

Photo credit: Visionary Aponte installation view by Yolanda Navas.

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom focuses on an extraordinary - and now lost - historical artifact: a "Book of Paintings" created by José Antonio Aponte, a free black carpenter, artist, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. During his trial, Aponte was forced to provide testimony describing each of the pictures in his book, which portrayed a wide array of subjects, from Biblical scenes to landscapes to episodes in the history of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Using those descriptions, 15 contemporary artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and textile have reimagined Aponte's book for our present, inviting us to think about the role of art and history in shaping social and political change.

The exhibit is based on a digital humanities project called Digital Aponte.

José Bedia, Leonardo Benzant, Sanford Biggers, Juan Roberto Diago, Edouard Duval Carrié, Alexis Esquivel, Teresita Fernández, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Nina Angela Mercer, Clara Morera, Glexis Novoa, Marielle Plaisir, Asser Saint-Val, Jean-Marcel St. Jacques, and Renée Stout

Curated by:
Édouard Duval Carrié, Tosha Grantham, Marie Vickles, Ada Ferrer, Linda Rodríguez, and Laurent Dubois

Exhibit Schedule

Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami, FL
December 8, 2017 - January 20, 2018

New York University, King Juan Carlos of Spain Center
February 21, 2018 - May 22, 2018

Duke University, Power Plant Gallery
Opens September 20, 2018

Recent Press

BOMB  |  Monica Uszerowicz  |  Jan 15, 2018

Reanimating History: Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

It was a warm spring day in Havana when Spanish authorities recklessly searched the home of José Antonio Aponte, eager to implicate his role in a slave uprising. In what became known as the "Aponte Conspiracy" of 1812, a group of assembled slaves and free people of color set fire to several sugar mills, the first step in their plan to overthrow the plantation system. The government swiftly ended it. Aponte, who reportedly organized the rebellion, was a free black carpenter, military activist, and—it was soon discovered—an artist continue reading >>