This article explores the uses of portraiture by artists Barkley L. Hendricks and Elizabeth Colomba. First, it examines the ways both artists refigure canonical forms of the genre differently to evoke an understanding of black interiority through the stylization, fashioning, and social meanings of blackness and the body. Second, it argues that these artists directly challenge the seeming invisibility of black bodies in Western art history by reworking the linear trajectory of canonical discourses. They do not so much insert black bodies back into the Western canon as reveal where they were all along.

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