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MIAMI ARTBUST PREVIEW: ‘REGGIE WILSON’S ‘CITIZEN‘: TO BELONG OR NOT TO BELONG?’

‘This piece was sparked by a portrait at the French palace of Versailles, titled “Citizen Jean-Baptiste Belley.” Belley was a slave from Senegal who purchased his freedom, fought in the Haitian Revolution and was elected to the French National Convention. Where did he belong? His image appears, a presence from the past, in this “CITIZEN.“ As much as the Belley portrait may have jump-started Wilson’s thinking on the concept of belonging, he says Neale Hurston was the key inspiration. “Why did she always return?” he asks of the writer, folklorist and anthropologist associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She traveled often during the 1920s and ‘30s, but always came back to the United States, when returning meant facing discrimination and racism, and when some of her African-American colleagues had transplanted to Paris. But asks Wilson, did they really belong there either?’

Read the full preview here.

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