Barbara Chase-Riboud, Zanzibar/Black, 1974-1975, bronze with black patina, silk and wool over a steel armature, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © 2017, Barbara Chase-Riboud; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Callery, LLC, New York, NY, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2018.2
Zanzibar/Black rises like a monumental ancient stele, yet this modern sculpture dismantles our expectations for this age-old form. Ribbons of bronze implausibly float above cascading skeins of wool and silk, seemingly disparate materials united by their black color. "It's not a weak material vs. a strong material so the transformation that happens in the steles is not between two unequal things but two things that interact and transform each other," the artist notes.
Award-winning author and sculptor Barbara Chase-Riboud has lived in Paris since the 1960s, forging friendships with Alexander Calder, James Baldwin, Sheila Hicks, and other Americans abroad. In the sixties, she began creating "skirts" for her sculptures as a solution for what she called "the tyranny of the pedestal." She titled this totemic sculpture after the East African island off the coast of Tanzania that, for centuries, was an epicenter of the Arab slave trade. Her Zanzibar series was inspired by her epic poem, "Why Did We Leave Zanzibar?" (1969--70), a meditation on the long-reaching consequences of the slave trade and the history of resistance by those enslaved.
- On View
82 × 30 × 27 in. (208.3 × 76.2 × 68.6 cm)
© 2017, Barbara Chase-Riboud; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Callery, LLC, New York, NY
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
- Mediums Description
- bronze with black patina, silk and wool over a steel armature
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