Lesly Deschler Canossi: Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation

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Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation questions how the Black female body, specifically the Black maternal body, navigates interlocking structures that place a false narrative on her body and that of her maternal ancestors. Drawing on a wide range of scholarly inquiry and contemporary art, this book addresses these misconceptions and fills in the gaps that exist in the photographic representation of Black motherhood, mothering, and mutual care within Black communities.

The essays and interviews, paired with a curated selection of images, address the complicated relationship between Blackness and photography and in particular its gendered dimension, its relationship to health, sexuality, and digital culture – primarily in the context of racialized heteronormativity. This collection, then, challenges racist images and discourses, both historically and in its persistence in contemporary society, while reclaiming the innate brilliance of Black women through personal stories, history, political acts, connections to place, moments of pleasure, and communal celebration.

This visual exploration of Black motherhood through pictures made by Black woman–identifying photographers thus serves as a reflection of the past and a portal to the future and contributes to recent scholarship on the complexity of Black life and Black joy.

This book emerges from the project Women Picturing Revolution.
For more information, visit womenpicturingrevolution.com

Contributing authors: Tomi Akitunde (founder and editor-in-chief of mater mea), Grace Aneiza Ali (New York University), Emily Brady (University of Nottingham), Lesly Deschler Canossi (Women Picturing Revolution), Nicole J. Caruth (independent curator), Haile Eshe Cole (University of Connecticut), Atalie Gerhard (Saarland University), Kellie Carter Jackson (Wellesley College), Régine Michelle Jean-Charles (Northeastern University), Rachel Lobo (York University), Zoraida Lopez-Diago (Women Picturing Revolution), Salamishah Tillet (Rutgers University), Scheherazade Tillet (A Long Walk Home), Brie McLemore (University of California, Berkeley), Renée Mussai (Autograph London), Marly Pierre-Louis (independent curator), Jonathan Michael Square (Parsons School of Design), Susan Thompson (independent curator), Jennifer Turner (Hollins University), Sasha Turner (Johns Hopkins University), Rhaisa Kameela Williams (Princeton University)

Contributing artists: Nydia Blas, Samantha Box, Renee Cox, Andrea Chung, Nona Faustine, Adama Delphine Fawundu, vanessa german, Ayana V. Jackson, Lebohang Kganye, Deana Lawson, Qiana Mestich, Marcia Michael, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu, Keisha Scarville, Mickalene Thomas, Mary Sibande, Carrie Mae Weems, Deborah Willis.

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