New provincialisms: curating art of the African diaspora

Wainwright, Leon (2009). New provincialisms: curating art of the African diaspora. Radical History Review(103) pp. 203–213.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2008-041

Abstract

Art of the African diaspora has become the focus of various curatorial interests in displaying and documenting an expanded, circum-Atlantic geography of blackness based on a notion of diaspora that once seemed promising for imagining an inter- or transnational community. However, the recent application of the diaspora concept to curatorial spaces has become susceptible to a provincializing attitude grounded in United States-centered experiences. This essay interrogates the ways in which such a U.S. locus for the African diaspora generates a hegemonic spatio-temporal scheme of new "margins" and "centers." With reference to visual examples, it recognizes attempts among artists and curators in Britain and the Anglophone Caribbean to dismantle and disavow the hegemonic use of race and the diaspora concept as founding categories of art historiography and of public memory.

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