Lecture 012 Reading – Afrofemcentrism and Its Fruition in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith
Ringgold (Frieda High W. Tesfagiorgis)
- Black women artists of today project a state of consciousness that asserts their race, sex,
and artistic ability, the 3 major entities of their existence which direct their lives and work.
- Article focuses on the black woman subject as depicted by the black woman artist, exploring
the distinct manner in which the latter envisions and presents black women’s realities.
- The term “Afrofemcentrism” applies to an Afro-female-centred worldview and its artistic
o Gives primacy to black-female conscious-assertiveness by centralizing and enlarging
intrinsic values, and as a result liberates “black feminism” from the blackenized
periphery of feminism.
o Affirms holistic existence while particularizing an assertive female stance.
- Through art, Afrofemcentrism emerges in a plethora of ideas which thematically project
black women’s realities over idealism, and it assimilates collective experience and history.
- The factor that distinguishes Afrofemcentrism in black art is the black female perspective,
which enlarges and activates images of black women, celebrating heroines and documenting
herstory while integrally addressing political, social, and personal issues.
- Most important in the portrayal of woman in the ideology of Afrofemcentrism is the
reaffirmation of her involved, thinking personage, rather than the demystification of the
feminine body and the response to sexism which often occurs in feminist art.
- In the work by Catlett and Ringgold, there emerge images of black women as real-type
individuals who are thinkers, feelers, human beings, conscious being, with race, sex, and
sometimes situations in common.
Thesis: By examining the black woman subject as depicted by the black woman artist through an
Afro-female-centred worldview, the images of blackwomen are enlarged and activated, celebrating
heroines and documenting herstory while integrally addressing political, social, and personal issues.