Afro-Atlantic Histories October 24, 2021–January 17, 2022
The MFAH presents the U.S. tour of Afro-Atlantic Histories, an unprecedented exhibition that explores the history and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade. The exhibition comprises more than 130 works of art and documents made in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe across 500 years, from the 17th century to the 21st century.
Afro-Atlantic Histories dynamically juxtaposes works by artists from 24 countries, representing evolving perspectives across time and geography through major paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, time-based media art, and ephemera. The range extends from historical paintings by Jean-Baptiste Debret, Frans Post, and Dirk Valkenburg to contemporary art by Melvin Edwards, Ibrahim Mahama, and Kara Walker.
The exhibition premiered at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in Brazil, and the U.S. tour builds on the presentation through the overarching theme of histórias—a Portuguese term that can encompass both fictional and non-fictional narratives of cultural, economic, personal, or political character. The term is plural, diverse, and inclusive, offering viewpoints that have been marginalized or forgotten. Afro-Atlantic Histories unfolds through six thematic sections that explore the varied histories of the diaspora.
Viewer Discretion Advised This exhibition includes images that some may find disturbing, including depictions of violence and suffering related to the history of slavery forced upon African peoples.
► Audio Guide
The exhibition audio guide delves into selected works of art with commentary from artists including Jamal Cyrus, Nona Faustine, and Kehinde Wiley; poet Joy Priest; and from scholars and museum curators. Disponible en español. Available free of charge, online and in the galleries. To listen in the galleries, please bring your mobile device and headphones.
Best experienced on mobile devices with the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.
► Shop the Show
Browse exhibition-related items at the MFA Shop online.
The illustrated exhibition catalogue is available through the MFA Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum’s Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).
► A Curatorial Conversation
Learn more about the presentation of Afro-Atlantic Histories in Brazil, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Afro-Atlantic Histories / October 24, 2021–January 17, 2022
• Included with general admission. Advance timed tickets recommended.
This exhibition is co-organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museu de Arte de Sāo Paulo in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
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 North American tour was curated by Kanitra Fletcher, Associate Curator, African American and Afro-Diasporic Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Major support provided by: