© Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensced by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Three figures around a table at meal time. Clock on wall reads 8:20. Train is visible through open doorway. Collage.
This colorful collage by North Carolina-born artist Romare Bearden is titled after the Sunset Express (later renamed the Sunset Limited), the first train route to connect travelers from the West Coast to the East Coast through the Southern United States. What fascinates the artist is not the passage of the train, visible through the open doorway, but its symbolism for the migration of Africans and African Americans and their displacement into rural areas near railways. Bearden was associated with the Harlem Renaissance, a movement centered in Harlem, NY, that celebrated and expressed the artistic, intellectual, and inner lives of African Americans. In his portrayals of domestic life and social gatherings, Bearden believed that collage could reflect African American reality by combining the material with the spiritual. Sunset Express depicts a fortuneteller reading tea leaves, illustrating how Afro-Caribbean and Black diasporic rituals are embedded in the daily life of many African Americans.
Exhibition Title: Asheville Art Museum: An Introduction to the Collection
Label Date: 2021
Type: Catalogue Entry
Written by: Michelle Lee
- Intersections in American Art , 9/11/2019 - 00/00/00
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