Saturday, 25 August 2007

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

African-American history and the fight of black Americans for their rights is a subject that is of great interest to me. In addition, I love photography, so it was natural that I thoroughly enjoyed an exhibit I went to see on Saturday at the International Center of Photography entitled Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits. The exhibition explores African-American history and achievements through the medium of photography and included portraits by both famous photographers such as James VanDerZee, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn and Carl Van Vechten and unknown or lesser-known known photographers.

Information about the exhibition can be seen on the ICP website.

I then spent about four hours in Bryant Park talking with a friend about topics ranging from but not limited to racism, black and white America, Barbados and the Caribbean to climate change, genetic engineering and organic food and New York. All in all, an intellectually fulfilling day!


Colonise This! said...

What a wonderful title.

Quite a full day. Deborah Willis has done an incredible job putting African American photography and subject matter before the public's eye and ICP (a fabulous organisation) has been a willing ally.

I credit her with keeping me sane during graduate school. When I had just begun, I was very frustrated with the way that brown folks were just excluded from the discourse around image construction and production. I went to Studio Museum to hear her speak about her history of AA photography and she talked about being motivated to start the research 20 years prior because of the very exclusion I was uptight about at the time.

We had a good chat about our experiences and from then on she became an ally. I was even able to talk my department chair into letting me do an Independent Study with her at NYU.

FYI, while she was at Schomburg many years ago, she purchased hundreds of 19th century images of the West Indies for their collection which can be viewed on request.

Hopefully, I'll get to see Let Your Motto Be Resistance soon.

BarbadosInFocus / PictureInFocus said...

I am a bit late reading this post but it is an interesting one. For sure I will visit ICP. Thanks for the post.

individuality1977 said...


I have a couple of collections of AA photography edited by Wills. The wonderful work by AA photographers is still very much marginalised and only people with a genuine interest really know about it. I will definitely be making an appointment to see the images at Schomburg. Incidentally they have a current exhibition on the images of blacks in the 19th and 20th century which I am planning to go see soon.


I am not sure if the ICP exhibit is still on but you can check their website. I think it is also supposed to be a permanent exhibit when the African American Museum opens in Washington.