Skip to Content

Audio Stop 952

00:00 00:00
A man and a woman with ink-black skin stand in a sage and olive-green boat that comes toward us on a wavy, dripping band of cobalt blue that spans the lower edge of this loosely hanging, square canvas. The word “WANDERER” is written in white capital letters along the bow of the boat. Closer to us, in the boat, a woman is seen from the hips up. An oval, cloud-like form covers her torso, shoulders, and the area behind her head. It is white with dusty rose-pink swirls, and has a few black lines creating scallops around the edge. A black shape at her waist, just over a cobalt-blue skirt, could indicate that at least one arm is bent behind her back. The penis, thighs, and knees of a man are seen between the boat and the triangular, pale lilac-purple sail. The sail is painted with long, curling strokes of violet purple up its center. A long, white pennant with two gold stars flutters from the boat’s burgundy-red mast, which has a crosspiece just below the pennant. The water is painted with dripping strokes of royal blue, which partially drip over a white skull at the lower center. The boat is set against a background layered in washes of white, shell pink, and baby blue, with swirls and thin strokes of brick red scattered across it. A butter-yellow sun outlined in deeper gold peeks above the horizon in the lower left, and is repeated in an arc that curves to the upper right corner. A few geometric line drawings hover next to the woman, on our left, such as a compass-like cross with a crosshatched oval at each end. A black number 1 floats in the lower left, above the water, and a black number 7 floats near the upper left. Two black number 7s float near the upper right, next to another heart-shaped line drawing. The background transitions from the pale washes to darker orbs of pink and blue, that overlap a band of black that nearly spans the top edge. In that zone, a black, gold, and red compass floats near the top of the mast, to our left. A sheet with anatomical illustrations hangs from the left arm of the mast. The drawings show cell clusters and human fetuses, some circled in brick red. A second drawing of a house circled in lilac-purple hangs on the right arm, next to a third drawing of concentric circles.

acrylic and collage on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of the Women’s Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art)

© Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall

Voyager, 1992

Not On View

Afro-Atlantic Histories