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Community Baptism, Baba Ishangi Leads Exercise

1986 Marilyn Nance Born: New York, New York 1953 gelatin silver print sheet: 16 x 20 in. (40.7 x 50.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist © 1986, Marilyn Nance 1994.49.1 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

Nance’s photographs examine ways that people of color practice religions connected with their African heritage. In Community Baptism, Baba Ishangi Leads Exercise, Nance presents a nontraditional scene of a group of men, women, and children on a beach, mostly barefoot, who take part in a rite of renewal. The photographer’s shadow at the lower right reveals that she, too, is part of the image.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012


Ceremony - religion - baptism

Ethnic - African-American

Figure group

Landscape - beach - Riis Beach

Landscape - New York

Portrait male - Ishangi, Baba

Recreation - sport and play - exercising

photography - photoprint


gelatin silver

About Marilyn Nance

Born: New York, New York 1953

More works in the collection by
Marilyn Nance