Black, white, subtle

What do you see when you look at this design? Chances are, you see colors. Black and white. Patterns, some of which are based on ancient Akan cloth printing traditions.

Now look again.


Do you see the man? This painting by Ghanaian artist Owusu-Ankomah,  at the British Museum, seems like a Rorschach test. We focus on seeing color– skin color and race– and we miss seeing the person.

This artwork was commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade in 2007. The painting’s title is as potent as the patterns. One word: Free.



Author: katehavelin

Whether I'm walking trails or exploring favorite places from my home in Saint Paul to New York, Paris, or Hong Kong, travel keeps me moving forward through life. I've written two trail guides for adults and sixteen nonfiction books for young people, along with dozens of magazine articles and essays.

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