Picasso and poet Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) met in 1948 at the Communist-led World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace, in Wroclaw, Poland. Césaire had been the figurehead of the 1930s Negritude movement in France, a group of writers who hoped to foster a sense of shared heritage throughout the African diaspora, reasserting their identities in opposition to Western colonial perspectives. Both Picasso and Césaire challenged and renewed the conventions of their respective mediums, and, in addition to their interest in Communist politics and African art, they shared Surrealism's interest in dreams, the power of the unconscious mind, and the irrational and fantastic. Césaire's text explores society's brutal positing of the black man as half-human, half-beast, while Picasso's illustrations fuse male and female sexual organs with plant-inspired forms.
Gallery label from Printin', February 15-May 14, 2012.