Grabbing, Snatching, Blink and You Be Gone

Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953)

1993. Oil on canvas, 20 x 60". 2000.021a-c

Carrie Mae Weems’s art addresses issues of ethnic, racial, and gender identity. Exploring the complexity of history and contemporary life, Weems has sought to uncover both the African and the American cultural origins of African- American heritage. This triptych is of Gorée Island, off the coast of Dakar, from Weems’s Slave Coast series. For Weems, Gorée symbolizes the slave trade as a point of connection to many places and tribes in Africa. Her photograph of this last of the many, grim holding facilities built for use in the trade captures a haunting and timeless presence, while at the same time insisting on the present- day existence of the structure and its location.

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