When the national media
addresses issues of race,
particular to the Black African
American experience, it often
addresses only those large urban
(North American) Black
communities of New York, Los
Angeles, Chicago. While teaching
at Kansas State University, in
rural Kansas, I came to recognize
and appreciate a rural Black
experience, significant in number,
as diverse and complex as those
in major cities, which has gone
unrecognized and undocumented.
And, even more significant, are
the experiences of people of
African descent in the rest of New
World. Virtually unknown and
undocumented, for example, are
the lives and experiences of an
estimated 150 million persons of
African ancestry in Latin America.

I had never considered this larger
community of Black people,
isolated from their African
ancestry, living in “exile” in the
New World. I recognize now a
larger context for my visual
photographic research: "Africans
Born in the Western World." I am
presently utilizing all research and
exhibition opportunities to enlarge
the sphere of my visual research
interests to include that population
of African descent living in the
western word. I define the western
world quite liberally, to include the
"First World," but also to include
those present and former colonies
of first world nations: western
countries – regardless of
economic or political orientation.
But, particularly to address those
Western Blacks with a history of
slavery, and social, political and
economic repression, including
but not limited to all the countries
of the Western Hemisphere.

I traveled to Dakar, Senegal, in
June 2000, 2001 and again in 2002,
as a means of establishing
contextualizing images for this
ongoing and long-term project of
visual and oral research. I have
traveled to Havana, Cuba, six
times since the spring of 2000, to
photograph for the purpose of a
project I call Negro de Nación /
Cubans Born of African Descent. I
am attempting to extend travel in
Latin America, and the Caribbean,
for the purpose of documenting
Black community experience,
cultural life and customs. I
traveled to Cairo, Egypt, this
March 2005, to continue
photographic work focusing on
Urban Africa. These photographs,
exhibited alongside images of
North American Black
communities, constructs a portrait
of Black cultural life as we enter a
new millennium (A hoped-for
period of joy, serenity, prosperity,
and justice . . .) Photographs are
powerful instruments of cultural
and economic change . . . Through
photography, I not only attempt to
interpret and record my
experience, but also to participate
in an ongoing debate on the fate
and shape of the Black cultural
experience.
Kerry Stuart Coppin
Materia Oscura / Dark Matter

Works are available for sale.
Please contact sales@photomediacenter.org for a
price list. Images are printed on Epson Stylus Pro 7800
printer using Ultrachrome Archival Pigmented ink, on
acid-free paper.

To contact the artist:
kerry_coppin@brown.edu
Brown University
Department of Visual Art
Box 1861
Providence, RI 02912
Home