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CAS Brown Bag: Archival Absence in Portrait of a Woman. Photographer Unknown, ca. 1910.

Event Type
Other
Sponsor
Center for African Studies
Location
Room 101 International Studies Building; 910 S. Fifth Street; Champaign, IL 61820
Date
Feb 22, 2017   12:00 pm  
Speaker
Sarah Richter, Art History, UIUC
Cost
Free and open to the public.
Contact
Terri Gitler
E-Mail
tgitler@illinois.edu
Phone
217-265-5016
Views
27
Originating Calendar
African studies - Outreach Calendar

Since the inception of the discipline of art history and the advent of photography, the two have been at odds. While photography is today considered an acceptable art form, scholars are continually attempting to grasp with everyday photography: the snapshot, the amateur portrait, the family photo. In this paper I investigate how one such photograph, a portrait of a woman from Senegal in 1910, taken by an unknown photographer, continues to productively disrupt Western practices of archiving, most notably through the absence of information about the photograph’s provenance. As the face of a 2015 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this image’s meteoric rise to fame further illustrates both the social life of photographs and the complicated relationship between western Art History and Africa’s photographic history.

 

 

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