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Kente Dilemma
(Arturo Lindsay, Spelman College)

As an art student and later emerging artist during the height of the Pan-Africanist movement of the 1970s I turned to African art and culture in order to imbue my work with the pride I felt for the home of my ancestors. Kente cloth played a major role in changing my palette to brighter colors and brought a sense of nobility to my paintings. In recent years however, my research has been focusing on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Discovering the role of African kings, chiefs and leaders whose greed and avarice allowed them to sell other Africans into bondage has presented me with a challenge. How do I separate my pride and admiration for the aesthetic accomplishments of African artists from the disdain I have for the actions of the nobility that employed them?

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