This essay explores the visual cultural production of three twentieth-century Black Caribbean Central American women painters: June Beer and Judith Kain, both from the Miskitu Coast, and Iris Abrahams, from San Andrés and Providencia. Specifically, it contextualizes these artists’ landscape portraiture against the historical backdrops of colonialism, territorial dispossession, and autonomous struggle in the isthmus. Understanding the political and the cultural as inextricably intertwined, this essay reads their place-based visual art as a critical form of anticolonial critique and social organizing in a region that remains marginalized in the historiography and scholarship on Latin America and the Caribbean and radical Black diasporic politics.
A Caribbean Coast Feeling: On Black Central American Women’s Landscape Portraiture
Melanie White is assistant professor of Afro-Caribbean studies in the Department of African American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her research interests include hemispheric Black feminist politics, Black diasporic women’s art, and the histories, politics, and visual cultures of Black Latin America and the Caribbean. She is currently writing a book about Black and Afro-Indigenous women’s anticolonial performance, visual culture, and political organizing in the Miskitu Coast.
Melanie White; A Caribbean Coast Feeling: On Black Central American Women’s Landscape Portraiture. Small Axe 1 November 2023; 27 (3 (72)): 15–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10899302
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