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When We See Us | A Century of Black Figuration in Painting | Featuring Wangari Mathenge and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

Zeitz MOCAA presents an exhibition that explores Black self-representation through portraiture and figuration in painting. Titled When We See Us, this timely exhibition celebrates global Black subjectivities and Black consciousness from pan-African and pan-diasporic perspectives.

With a focus on painting, specifically works produced from the 1920s to the present, When We See Us celebrates how artists from Africa and its diaspora have imagined, positioned, memorialised and asserted African and African-descent experiences. The title of the exhibition is inspired by Ava Dubernay’s When They See Us, a 2019 US drama mini-series. It depicts various forms of violence against Black bodies as still witnessed globally today. Flipping “they” to “we” allows for a dialectical shift that centres the conversation in a differential perspective of self-writing as theorised by Achille Mbembe.