Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Brazil Initiative

Daryle Williams - Redeeming Ham, Again: Slave Emancipation, Race, and Fine Arts in Brazil

Thursday, April 19, 2018

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street.

Among Latin Americanists, Redemption of Ham (Modesto Brocos y Gómez, 1895) is an arrestingly familiar artistic representation of race mixture in Brazil. The appeal of Brocos’ allegorical treatment of the enigmatic Old Testament tale known as the "Curse of Ham" is conventionally framed around the troubled history of racial thought and anti-black racism in post-emancipation Brazil. Paradoxically, Redemption remains thinly contextualized in the canvas’ immediate historical context of gradual abolition and Brocos’ experiences with formerly enslaved black people. This talk looks anew at Redemption and its author to explore the entwined destinies of slave emancipation, race, and fine arts in the largest and most enduring slave society of the Americas.