“Feeling for my people”: Visualizing resistance, radicalism, and revolution

Celeste Marie Bernier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Working to bear witness to the untold stories of sacrifice and suffering endured by millions of enslaved people, early African American artists such as Drake refused to dilute or dismiss the traumatizing realities that had been enacted in the “prison-house of bondage” by barbaric and murderous white slaveholding classes. Clementine Hunter and Sam Doyle artists reimagine the life stories of unknown enslaved individuals in order to put flesh onto the bones of hidden histories of African American and African diasporic genealogies of rebellion and revolution. Hunter includes one black woman who is engaged in a very different kind of labor in Cotton Picking. A surrogate for Hunter herself, she is seated rather than bent double and she holds a paintbrush in her hand while she works away at a canvas resting on her lap. An emotionally expressionistic rather than a literal or realistic work, Hunter visualizes her internal processes as an artist.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to African American Art History
EditorsEddie Chambers
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351045186
ISBN (Print)9781138486553
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019


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