Cheryl Finley


    “WHAT DID IT MEAN to be a Black artist in the USA during the Civil Rights movement and at the birth of Black Power?” In its ambitious exploration of that question, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Tate Modern, London, brought together more than 150 works produced between 1963 and 1983—an intense, transformative period in American art, activism, and culture, when black identity came into sharper focus and demanded to be reckoned with, while the spark of black liberation caught fire in the US, the Caribbean, and Africa. The vast majority of the sixty-some artists

  • John Dunkley, Acrobat, n.d., mahogany, 9 3/8 × 4 5/8 × 4 1/2".


    When Franklin Sirmans took over the directorship of the Pérez in 2015, the institution repositioned itself as an international beacon of modern and contemporary art, and it continues to shine a light on unexpected and deserving artists from the Caribbean and Latin America. Take this summer’s exhibition, which will present the work of historical painter and sculptor John Dunkley (1891–1947) for the first time outside his native Jamaica. Dunkley began to paint in Panama while he worked as a barber, and he returned to Jamaica in the mid- to late 1920s,

  • William T. Williams, Trane, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 108 × 84". From “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”


    A little more than a decade ago, curators began exploring the legacy of the 1960s and ’70s Black Arts Movement in the US; in 2005, “Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary” at London’s Whitechapel Gallery linked contemporaneous African-diasporic connections between the US, the UK, and Jamaica. In 2006, Kellie Jones curated the first of three important exhibitions that unearthed key yet underacknowledged abstract and figurative artists with “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980” at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem.

  • Youssef Limoud, Maqam, 2016, mixed media. Installation view, Palais de Justice, Dakar. From “Réenchantements,” Dak’Art. Photo: Ricci Shryock.

    Cheryl Finley

    WHEN PIONEERING CURATOR and editor Simon Njami was named artistic director of the twelfth edition of Dak’Art, the biennial of contemporary African art held in the Senegalese capital of Dakar this past spring, the art world took notice. Njami is a cofounder of Revue Noire, the influential art magazine published in Paris from 1991 to 2001, whose founding mission was “to show that there is contemporary art in Africa.” He is also well known for his curatorial debut, the Ethnicolor festival in Paris in 1987; the blockbuster exhibition “Africa Remix,” which toured Europe, Tokyo, and Johannesburg from