Event | Conference

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom - A Symposium

Venue: KJCC Auditorium • 53 Washington Square South

This symposium will gather scholars and artists discussing the figure of José Antonio Aponte and the recent exhibit in view at KJCC NYU from February 23 to May 4, Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom.

Speakers include: Katy Fleming (NYU Provost), Ana Dopico (Director, KJCC), Jill Lane (Director, CLACS), Ada Ferrer (NYU), Sibylle Fischer (NYU), Jorge Pavez (Universidade de São Paulo), Greg Childs (Brandeis University), Tomás Fernández Robaina (Biblioteca Nacionl José Martí, Havana), Odette Casamayor (University of Connecticut), Sara E. Johnson (UCSD), Edouard Duval Carré, Jean-Marcel St. Jacques, Renée Stout, Glexis Novoa, Marielle Plaisir, Teresita Fernández, Joseé Bedia, Asser St. Val, Leonardo Benzant, Nina Mercer, Vickie Pierre, Clara Morera, and Emilio Martinez.

Check the full video of this event!


9:00 a.m. Coffee and Pastries

9:45-10 a.m. Welcome | Katy Fleming, NYU Provost; Ana Dopico, Director, King Juan Carlos Center; Jill Lane, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

10:00-10:45 a.m. Keynote: Art and a Black Kingdom of this World | Ada Ferrer, NYU (History and CLACS)

10:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Approaching Aponte, His Book, and His Legacies

-Chair: Sibylle Fischer (NYU, Spanish and CLACS)

-Jorge Pavez (Universidade de São Paulo) Aponte’s Black Codex

-Greg Childs (Brandeis University) Other Aponte’s?

-Tomás Fernández Robaina (Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Havana), Aponte Now

Lunch Break

1:30-3:30 p.m. Visionary Aponte Artists’ Roundtable I

Moderated by Odette Casamayor, University of Connecticut

-José Bedia

-Leonardo Benzant

-Édouard Duval-Carrié

-Teresita Fernández

-Emilio Martínez

-Clara Morera

3:45- 5:45 p.m. Visionary Aponte Artists’ Roundtable II

Moderated by Sara E. Johnson, UCSD

-Nina Mercer

-Glexis Novoa

-Vickie Pierre

-Marielle Plaisir

-Asser St. Val

-Jean-Marcel St. Jacques

5:45 p.m. Concluding Remarks


About the exhibit:

After a successful showing in Miami, the Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom exhibit comes to KJCC (Feb. 23-May 4).

The exhibit focuses on an extraordinary– and now lost– historical artifact: a “Book of Paintings” created by José Antonio Aponte, a free black carpenter, artist, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. During his trial, Aponte was forced to provide testimony describing each of the pictures in his book, which portrayed a wide array of subjects, from Biblical scenes to landscapes to episodes in the history of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Using those descriptions, fifteen contemporary artists – working in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and textile– have reimagined Aponte’s book for our present, inviting us to think about the role of art and history in shaping social and political change.

This event is free and open to the public. RSPV online here!

(Picture: José Bedia, Júbilo de Aponte, 2017. Mixed media on mixed paper.)