Post Cards From Florence

IRAAA Has Received Broad Photo Documentation of the Black Portraitures Conference

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Dell M. Hamilton's Post Card From Florence

External photo: Washington DC attorney and art collector Schwanda Rountree. Photo: Courtesy New York University. Photo by Riccardo Cavallari for NYU.

The IRAAA+ "Post Cards From Firenze" documentation initially was planned as a way for a few participants in the Black Portraiture{s} II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories conference to share moments from their experience in Florence, Italy.

However, we knew that the conference experience would be all-consuming for our three colleagues who agreed to send "post cards" and that they wouldn't have much time to so. So the New York University Office of Global Sites has augmented the post card project with generous photo documentation. This page will be updated with new content from NYU and IRAAA contributors soon.

This first “card” was sent on May 29, 2015 by Dell M. Hamilton with the message below. Hamilton is an artist, writer and curator and former assistant director at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Art historian and curator Renee Mussai presented a rich discussion on what she calls "The Missing Chapter" — images that were uncovered in the Hulton Archive of Getty Images and which were presented in 2014 at Autograph ABP in London. This complex array of reproductions depicted the various and distinguished Africans who traveled to Britain during the 19th and early 20th century but whose countenances have not been viewed by the public in over 100 years. While the images reverberate with not only the absences and presences that shadowbox with the past, they also reveal the savvy use the photographic medium as a tool for political agency, beauty, dignity and black subjectivity.

Mussai is far right during the "Activating Histories: Visualizing and Restaging the Archive session."  Also on the panel, l-r, are Tiffany Gill, Tanisha C. Ford, Kalia Brooks, Kellie Jones and Mary Schmidt Campbell.