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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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Brunias’s tarred brush, or painting Indians black: race-ing the Carib divide

Brunias’s tarred brush, or painting Indians black: race-ing the Carib divide

(p.39) 1 Brunias’s tarred brush, or painting Indians black: race-ing the Carib divide
Colouring the Caribbean

Mia L. Bagneris

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers how Brunias’s Carib pictures visually reinforced the insistent – and largely imagined – distinction between so-called ‘Red’ and ‘Black’ Carib Indians made by British colonialists. Though there were certainly genotypic and phenotypic differences among various Carib communities, the British exaggerated the substance and significance of these differences in order to serve their own colonial interests. Brunias’s pictures supported these exaggerations, fuelling perceptions of Black Caribs as a problematic entity in the colonial world and creating a visual narrative to justify the solutions the British used to deal with them. However, careful analysis reveals the extent to which these works simultaneously underscore the problematic nature of the racial and cultural distinctions they aim to reify, pointing to deeply felt cultural anxieties about the hybrid character of colonial life.

Keywords:   Red and Black Caribs, Visual narrative, Sir William Young, Lesser Antilles

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