• The Exhibit of American Negroes, Revisited
    Jina Valentine

W. E. B. Du Bois. “[The Georgia Negro] Migration of Negroes. 1890.” Chart. Ca. 1900. From Library of Congress, “African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition.”

For the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, activist and sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois led the creation of 67 modernist drawings that visualized data on the state of Black life. These hand-drawn illustrations were part of the Exhibit of American Negroes, which Du Bois collaboratively organized to represent Black life in America at the world’s fair. The premise of The Exhibit of American Negroes, Revisited is simple, yet significant, for its potential to reveal patterns, progress, and impasses in the socioeconomic development of Black Americans over the past century. How much has changed since Du Bois’ presentation? What parallels exist between historic and contemporary systems of oppression and support for Black Americans? This series updates the original set of 67 drawings with contemporary data on the lives of black people living in America with 2020 census data. The composition, aesthetic, and areas of inquiry are consistent with the originals, illuminating how new data changes the drawings’ forms.

Jina Valentine’s interdisciplinary practice is informed by the intuitive strategies of American folk artists and traditional craft techniques, and interweaves histories latent within found texts, objects, narratives, and spaces. She has exhibited at venues including The Drawing Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her work has received recognition and support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Art Matters Foundation, North Carolina Arts Council, the San Francisco Arts Council, and the Institute for Arts and Humanities at University of North Carolina (UNC). She has been an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Joan Mitchell Center, Banff Centre, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Women's Studio Workshop. Valentine is cofounder of Black Lunch Table and is an associate professor in the Department of Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her bachelor’s in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University and her master’s from Stanford University.