Soviet images of Africans go on show at New York gallery

20 January 2014

Soviet images of Africans and African-Americans from the 1920s to the 1980s have gone on show at the Winkleman Gallery in New York. The Wayland Rudd Collection exhibition examines representations of Africans in Soviet culture during this time, taking as its departure point more than 200 images including paintings, movie stills, posters and graphics from the collection of New York-based, Moscow-born artist Yevgeniy Fiks.

Fiks invited contemporary artists and academics to select images from his own collection and respond to them in any way they wished. The exhibition takes its name from Wayland Rudd, an African-Amercian actor who travelled to Moscow in 1932 to make a film and ended up staying until his death in 1952. Along the way, he appeared in numerous films and plays, becoming the image associated with the “Negro” for generations of Soviet citizens. The exhibition portrays a complex picture of race and communism in the Soviet context, looking at racism, otherness, internationalism, solidarity, humanism and communist ideals. The Wayland Rudd Collection runs until 15 February.