Black Presence: Justin Randolph Thompson Highlights Black African Figures in Uffizi Masterpieces | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

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Black Presence: Justin Randolph Thompson Highlights Black African Figures in Uffizi Masterpieces

SACI faculty member Justin Randolph Thompson presents Black Presence, a new series by the Uffizi Galleries highlighting the representation of Black Africans in Renaissance Europe.

Black Presence, a new project by the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy, focuses on the presence of Black African figures in the museum’s famous collection. In a series of eight videos, Justin Randolph Thompson, director and co-founder of Black History Month Florence and SACI faculty member, illustrates and contextualizes the social and cultural presence of blackness in people’s mindset in Renaissance Europe by exploring paintings in which black figures play leading roles.

Black Presence is the second step of the On Being Present research project, which was launched in February 2020 as a collaboration between Black History Month Florence and the Uffizi Galleries to highlight the histories and historical context of the Black African figures present in a range of paintings in the museum's collection.

Initiatives for Black Presence kicked off on the symbolic Fourth of July with a live-stream on the Uffizi’s TikTok, during which Justin took viewers on his first video walk through the museum’s corridors and halls to explain the works and focus on examples of racial inequality. The event also included performances such as that of Gabin Dabirè, a singer, guitarist, and composer from Burkina Faso, who performed in front of the painting "Perseus freeing Andromeda,” by Piero di Cosimo.

Learn more about Black Presence and watch the complete series on the Uffizi Galleries website.


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