Curated by Aindra Emelife, Black Venus explores the visual representation of black femininity from colonial times through the present day with the work of 18 artists whose modalities range from portraiture to sculpture.
The exhibition is largely predicated upon the painful legacy of Saartje Baartman, also known as “the Hottentot Venus,” an enslaved South African woman born in 1789 who was carted around European stages as part of a ‘freak show’ displaying her non-western body type.
Many of the pieces grapple directly with this disturbing history, and still others reclaim the past with dynamic narrative portraiture that feature the artists as subjects.
Black Venus is showing through August 20 at the Museum of the African Diaspora. The hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 – 6:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 – 5:00.