Selene WendtAug 19, 2022
Beyond the Door of No Return
Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories Through Contemporary Art
The Africa Institute and Skira 2021
In Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art (The Africa Institute and Skira, 2021), art historian and curator Selene Wendt presents lesser-known tales of anticolonial defiance in artworks and marginal histories worldwide. The artists featured in this book create compelling narratives that shed light on the entangled colonial histories that connect Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Collectively, these artists provide crucial insight into some of the lesser-known aspects of colonial history, such as Norwegian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. They describe the lives of freedom fighters such as Venus Johannes, Mary Thomas, Olaudah Equiano and Anna Heegaard. By highlighting the stories of those who have been historically silenced, we encounter a more nuanced understanding of colonial history and the factors that have contributed to the continued effects of colonialism today, most evidently witnessed in the prevalence of institutional, systemic and everyday racism, poverty and forced migration. The book includes artists John Akomfrah, La Vaughn Belle, Manthia Diawara, Jeannette Ehlers, Michelle Eistrup, Sasha Huber, Oceana James, Patricia Kaersenhout, Grada Kilomba, Suchitra Mattai and Alberta Whittle.
Holiday Powers is Assistant Professor of Art History at VCUarts Qatar. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, postcolonial theory, and gender studies.