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Surrealism and US: Caribbean and African Diasporic Artists Since 1940

How modern and contemporary artists across the African and Caribbean diasporas transformed European Surrealism into a tool for Black expression.

On the centennial anniversary of André Breton’s first Surrealist ManifestoSurrealism and Us shines new light on how Surrealism was consumed and transformed in the Caribbean and the United States. It brings together more than 50 works from the 1940s to the present that convey how Caribbean and African diasporic artists reclaimed a European avant-garde for their own purposes.
Since its inception, the Surrealist movement—and many other European art movements of the early 20th century—embraced and transformed African art, poetry and music traditions. Concurrently, artists in the Americas proposed subsets of Surrealism more closely tied to African diasporic culture. In Martinique, Aimé and Suzanne Césaire proposed a Caribbean Surrealism that challenged principles of order and reason and embraced African spiritualities. Meanwhile, artists in the United States such as Romare Bearden and Ted Joans engaged deeply with Surrealist ideas. Hardcover, 208 pages.

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