Anna Arabindan-Kesson
Art historian, writer, curator

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Black Atlantic Authorship and Art

Robert S Duncanson,  Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrin,  1871, Detroit Institute of Art

Robert S Duncanson, Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrin, 1871, Detroit Institute of Art

In November I had the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh where I attended a symposium called Black Atlantic Authorship and Art, 1818-2018. It was organized by the incredible Professor Celeste Marie Bernier, as part of a fantastic project called Our Bondage and Our Freedom,”an international project celebrating the 200 year anniversary of the birth of African American activist and author, Frederick Douglass.” You can find out more about the whole project here.

My paper focused on Robert S Duncanson and the landscape paintings he made during his sojourn in Scotland in the mid 1860s. I talked about his interest in romantic poetry, his position as a landscape painter and African American traveler in the UK and the possibilities of freedom that he envisages in his paintings. The paper, along with others from the conference, will be published next year in a special edition of the journal Slavery and Abolition.