A large 19th century painting titled “Woman From Bahia” stands in contrast to all this. We don’t know who the subject is, or who painted her, or when (the guess is around 1850). But, wearing white gloves, a midnight-blue gown, and ropes of gold beads, she’s a self-contained presence. She doesn’t seem to notice or care that the painter, or we, are there. She has a life and thoughts all her own. She may be an ex-slave; she’s also a queen.
(Holland Cotter, “Brazil Enthralls With an Art Show of Afro-Atlantic History,” NYTimes, 10-13-18)
(c) 2018 JMN.