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Colouring the CaribbeanRace and the Art of Agostino Brunias$
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Mia L. Bagneris

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526120458

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526120458.001.0001

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Merry and contented slaves and other island myths: representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglo-American world

Merry and contented slaves and other island myths: representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglo-American world

Chapter:
(p.92) 2 Merry and contented slaves and other island myths: representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglo-American world
Source:
Colouring the Caribbean
Author(s):

Mia L. Bagneris

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526120458.003.0003

The chapter analyses the depiction – or lack thereof – of Africans and Afro-Creoles in British colonial art of the West Indies. It places Brunias within the context of other European painters in the British Caribbean during the long eighteenth century, particularly George Robertson and Isaac Mendes Belisario. James Pope-Hennessy and others have dismissed Brunias’s compositions as typical plantocratic propaganda designed to deny the brutal reality of plantation slavery. However, a deeper examination reveals the artist as standing apart from his peers in his attention to the human reality of the black presence in the islands. Brunias is unique in highlighting the African past of his black figures and the continuing influence of this past on the development of a vibrant Afro-Creole colonial culture that exists apart from the world of the planters.

Keywords:   British colonial art, plantocratic propaganda, George Robertson, Isaac Mendes Belisario, James Pope-Hennessy

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