‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ Opens at the Dallas Museum of Art

Afro-Atlantic Histories’, a critically acclaimed exhibition charting the legacies of the African Diaspora through artworks from the 17th century to now, features historical artworks alongside contemporary works by artists of the Black Diaspora, including; Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, Titus Kaphar, Firelei Báez, Zanele Muholi, and Nina Chanel Abney. The exhibition prompts new connections and a dialogue about Afro-Atlantic histories.

Barrington Watson, Conversation, 1981

‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ takes visitors on a journey through Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe, but at its heart is Africa. Displaying works from the 17th century to the present, the exhibition explores the diverse visual cultures of the Afro Atlantic—places marked by the transatlantic slave trade and its brutal forced movement of African peoples across the Atlantic Ocean. This exhibition encourages new connections and questions that inspire us to reconsider Afro-Atlantic histories.

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections—each with works from different eras, territories, and media—that illuminate the ways the transatlantic slave trade transcends national boundaries and stretches across the centuries. The juxtaposition of historical works by European artists and later works by artists of the Black Diaspora reflects the lingering effects of fraught histories and the radical reimagination of those pasts. Together, they offer an expansive retelling of the many histories of the Afro-Atlantic.

Marilyn Nance, The White Eagles Black Indians of New Orleans 1980

The exhibition concludes its tour of the United States at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) from 22nd October, 2023 to 11th February 11, 2024. This unprecedented exhibition is a visual exploration of the Black diaspora’s history and legacy, with a focus on the shameful transatlantic slave trade. Initially organized and presented in 2018 by the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP), ‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ features around 100 artworks and documents originating from Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean and dating back to the 17th Century, including works from the DMA’s collection. 

The exhibition fosters dialogues across time and reexamines histories of enslavement, resistance, and the struggle for liberation from a global perspective.  Afro-Atlantic Histories is divided into six thematic sections that accommodate the variety of work on display; Maps and Margins, Resistances and Activisms, Enslavements and Emancipations, Portraits, Rites and Rythmns and Everyday Lives. With works spanning different eras, geographies, genres, and media, the sections together offer an expansive retelling of the many histories of the Afro-Atlantic.

Heitor Dos Prazeres Musicians, 1950s

Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director comments: “We are honored to welcome this groundbreaking exhibition to Dallas, and we invite our community to experience an invigorating celebration and reimagination of the African Diaspora,” “Ambitious in its scope and scholarship, Afro-Atlantic Histories offers a wide range of new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the connections between the cultures of the Black Atlantic.”

“Afro-Atlantic Histories is a rich and revelatory exploration of visual culture that offers a deeply international vision of Black aesthetic traditions,” added Ade Omotosho, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. “Rather than organize artworks chronologically, the exhibition unfolds thematically, which yields compelling juxtapositions that reveal the ways the past lingers in the present.”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Eko Skyscraper, 2019

At the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, the exhibition was curated by Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director; Ayrson Heráclito, Curator; Hélio Menezes, Curator; Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, Adjunct-curator of Histories; and Tomás Toledo. The coordinating curators at the Dallas Museum of Art are Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, and Ade Omotosho, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is presented by Bank of America.

Afro-Atlantic Histories’ is at the Dallas Museum of Art until 11th February 11, 2024:


Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Top 3 Stories