Misogynoir and the history of the image of African women in Western Europe

Tuesday 29th March

Islington Black History Working Group presents: Michael I. Ohajuru


Michael I. Ohajuru is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, he holds an honours degrees in Physics and Art History. Michael, blogs, writes and speaks regularly on the Black presence in Renaissance Europe. Michael has spoken at the National Gallery, Tate Britain, British Library, National Archives and the Victoria Albert Museum and has featured in TV programs on BBC, ITV and Channel 5.

Michael I. Ohajuru is the Founder of the “Image of the Black in London Galleries” a series of gallery tours, the Project Director and Chief Evangelist of “The John Blanke Project”: an Art and Archive project celebrating John Blanke the Black trumpeter to courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, co-convener of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies “What’s Happening in Black British History” series of workshops and founder member of “The Black Presence in British Portraiture network”.

Come and witness an illustrated presentation on how the image of the Black African woman was eliminated in Western European Art and her journey back to centre stage. Beginning with how the image of Queen of Sheba and other black African women have been systematically removed from canonical western art. An illustrated review of how the representations of the Bible’s black women, Moses’s Ethiopian wife and the Queen of Sheba and Ovid’s black Andromeda, the daughter of the King of Ethiopia, have been handled in canonical western art by Titian, Veronese and others, how the images of Black women became white, demonised, sexualised or disappeared over time. Considering her movement from elimination during the Renaissance, anonymisation in the eighteenth and nineteenth century to the reclamations of her image in the twentieth century and celebration of her image in the twenty-first century.

If you want to know why we celebrate the Black King today yet there is no equivalent Black Queen in canonical works of art of Western Europe – then this talk is for you.