Black Portraiture(s) II Imaging the black body and re-staging Histories

May 28-31/ Villa La Pietra / New York University / Florence Italy

Held at New York University’s historical Villa La Pietra, home of the NYU/Florence program in Florence Italy, Black Potraiture(s) II is the sixth in a series of interdisciplinary visual arts conferences Harvard University inaugurated in 2004 with Bridging the Gabs.

Organizers: Awam Amkpa, Ulrich Baer, Manthia Diawara, Henry Louis Gates, jr Thelma Golden, Robert Holmes, Ellyn Toscano, Cheryl Finley

and …. the driving force behind all this: Deborah Willis. DSC_0492

A review in pictures (also by Terrence Jennings and Nancy Jouwe):

First evening Villa La Pietra. Because I’ve talked to so many people I had not seen in a long time, I was not able to take many pictures.

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Nancy Jouwe, Sirpa Salenius and Charmaine Nelson

The conference poster is a work by Omar Victor Diop (a selfportrait)

DSC_0464 opening conferenceDSC_0596 detailDSC_0468

Overview by Terrence Jennings

BlackPortraiture_Day_1_edit0089 kleiner

I’m on this (People sometimes complain that they never see me on my pictures).I’m in the middle of this detail below.

BlackPortraiture_Day_1_edit0089 hele formaat detail And this one is taken by Nancy JouweOpening conf foto door Nancy Jouwe met Jörgen Tjon a Fong,  Rob Perree, Charl Landvreugd en ik  Jörgen Tjon a Fong,  Rob Perree, Charl Landvreugd and me

First Day May 29 2015 Odeon Florence

Introduction with the first lady of New York: Chirlane McCray (good speech)DSC_0485Deborah Willis and Cheryl Finley DSC_0491

First panel: ReSinifications: European Backamoors, Africana Readings and More

With: Michael Gomez, Robert E Holmes, Francoise Verges, Gunja SenGupta, Ella Shohat and Jason King

Robert Holmes talking about the blackamoors in the Villa la PietraDSC_0502

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second panel : Black Italia 

With: Alessandra Di Maio, Sandra Ponzanesi, Ghaul Bassi, Linde Luijnenburg, Pap Khouma and Ubah Christina Ali Farrah

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Third panel of the day: The Sweetest Taboo: Theorizing Black Female Pleasure, Agency and Desire within Black Feminism (nice surprice this panel, with a change of perspective)

With: Mark Anthony Neal,Joan Morgan, Treva Lindsey, Brittney Cooper, Kaila Story and Uri McMillan




Fourth panel of the day: Activating Histories: Visualizing and Restaging the Archive

With: Kalia Brooks, Kellie Jones, mary Schmidt Campbell, Tanisha Ford, Tiffany M. GillRenee Mussay


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Opening exhibition ReSignifications in Bardini Museo Florence.

DSC_0487 Awam Ampka

The exhibition, curated by Awam Ampka, juxtaposes a select grouping of schulptured images of Africans, commenly known as blackamoors, in various states of servitude and decoration with reinterpretations and couter-narratives of the Black boy from a spectrum of contemporary artistic angles.

At the entrance  A work by Fred Wilson, Snuff.


Carrie Mae Weems DSC_0722 detail met Weems

DSC_0589DSC_0590 DSC_0592DSC_0596Omar Victor Diop was present at the opening.

Adrienne Childs (specialist in ‘Blackamoors’) explaines DSC_0602

Zanele Muholi

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Flavio Cerqueira

DSC_0623 DSC_0619Patrizia Maimouna Guerresi (black mountains 2006)DSC_0626 DSC_0630

Day Two May 30 2015 at the Odeaon in Florence

The first panel of the day The Image of the Black in Western Art 

With: David Bindman, Jan Marsh, Kate Lowe, Monica Miller, Tanya Sheehan and Julia HernandezDSC_0644

David Bindman mentions the exhibition Black is beautiful, Rubens to Dumas.(2008)



Second panel of the day: Out of Body: Composing Blackness through Sound, Music, and (Performance) Art

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The third panel of the day: Contemporary Art & Cultural Dilomacy: Art in Embassies Program Artists

With Robert Soppelsa, Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Sanford Biggers adn Florence Lado


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Fourth panel of the day: Sister Outsider: Black American Women, Identity and Global Travel


Last day May 31 Villa La Pietra.
The Panel I’m in, in the Ballroom of the Villa la Pietra. Title: The Court Moor: Blackness, Servitude & the Artifice of Court Culture. With Moderator and speaker Adrienne Childs, Paul Kaplan, me, and Irina Novikova
 A few minutes later a full house in the ballroom

Second session (I visited)  Imaging Masculinity with Chrsitne Checinska, Marcus Bruce, Lyneise Williams, Millery Polyne, Niyi Coker. jr.


last session I visited: Re-creating Histories: Artists’Speak with Rujecko Hockley, Justin Randolf Thomson, Hank Willis Thomas, Kiluanji Henda, Elixabeth Colomba, Omar Victor Diop


Hank Willis Thomas, Omar Victor Diop and moderator Rujecko Hockley 

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This is the maximum I can put on this blog. contact :

See for more information


    1. Ha Finette. Ja het was inderdaad indrukwekkend. Prachtige locaties, heel veel interessante histories en weer bekenden gezien . Biënnale in Venetië is ook een aanrader.
      Verslag volgt nog.

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