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African Consciousness Illuminated

Beginning this weekend, a new exhibit at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town focuses on black representation in art from 1920 to the present. Called ‘When They See Us,’ its name is borrowed from an Ava Duvernay-produced miniseries about the young black men, who were wrongfully accused and convicted in the rape of the Central Park jogger. With this naming, the exhibit aims to depict ways in which the black community has worked to achieve self-determination, particularly in response to wrongful treatment. Subtitled ‘A Century of Black Figuration in Painting’, the exhibition invites visitors to delve into the concept of figuration – the act or process of creating a figure or a representation in figures. The concept applies, especially, when it comes to depictions of violence – both up to the minute and in numerous forms, against black bodies, minds and hearts.