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The spruce-green silhouette of a broad-shouldered man standing among palm fronds looks up at a faint red star against a field of green circles radiating out from the horizon in this abstracted vertical painting. The scene is made with mostly flat areas of color to create silhouettes in shades of slate and indigo blue, lemon-lime and pea green, plum purple, and brick red. To our right of center, the man faces our left in profile. His eye is a slit and he has tight curly hair. The position of his feet, standing on a coffin-shaped, brick-red box, indicate his back is to us. He stands with legs apart and his arms by his sides. Terracotta-orange shackles around his wrists are linked with a black chain. A woman to our left, perhaps kneeling, holds her similarly shackled hands up overhead. A line of shackled people with their heads bowed move away from this pair, toward wavy lines indicating water in the distance. The water is pine green near the shore and lightens, in distinct bands, to asparagus green on the horizon. On our left, two, tall pea-green ships sail close to each other at the horizon, both titled at an angle to our right. Concentric circles radiate out from the horizon next to the ships to span the entire painting, subtly altering the color of the silhouettes it encounters. To our left, a buttercup-yellow beam shines from the red star in the sky across the canvas, overlapping the man’s face. Spruce-blue palm trees grow to our right while plum-purple palm fronds and leaves in smoke gray and blood red frame the painting along the left corners and edge. The artist signed the painting in the lower right, in black, “AARON DOUGLAS.”

Aaron Douglas, Into Bondage, 1936, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase and partial gift from Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr., The Evans-Tibbs Collection), 2014.79.17

Afro-Atlantic Histories

Slide Overview

Slide Overviews

  • Wednesday, June 15, 2022
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Lecture Hall, West Building, Ground Floor (David Gariff)
  • In-person

Education staff provide an introduction to Afro-Atlantic Histories, introducing the exhibition's six thematic sections and discussing works of art that highlight artists' perspectives on the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy today. (45–60 minutes)


Tuesday, April 19 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Wednesdays, April 20 and 27 at 11:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Thursdays, April 21 and 28 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Saturdays, April 23 and 30 at 12:00 (Nathalie Ryan)


Tuesdays, May 3, 17, and 24 at 11:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Thursdays, May 5 and 12 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Fridays, May 6 and 27 at 11:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Saturdays, May 14 and 21 at 12:00 (David Gariff)

Sundays, May 22 and 29 at 12:00 (Nathalie Ryan)


Tuesdays, June 7 and 14 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Thursdays, June 23 and 30 at 11:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Saturday, June 25 at 12:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Sundays, June 12 and 19 at 12:00 (David Gariff)


Wednesday, July 6 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Thursday, July 7 at 1:00 (David Gariff)

Fridays, July 1 and 8 at 11:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Saturdays, July 9 and 16 at 12:00 (Nathalie Ryan)

Sundays, July 10 and 17 at 12:00 (Nathalie Ryan)