The Brooklyn-based artist Simone Leigh draws upon forms, techniques, and visual cues from across Africa and its diaspora—the communities of descendants scattered around the globe—to reflect on continuity and change. The title of the bust on view refers to one of the Guadeloupe islands in the Caribbean. One of Leigh’s central themes is the black female body as a “repository of lived experience” containing strength, knowledge, and healing wisdom. Here, the body’s beehive shape and textured surface reference the traditional mud dwellings made by the Musgum people of Cameroon and Chad. The eyeless features suggest an inner life that we, the viewers, cannot fully apprehend.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.