The Black Surrealists by Jean-Claude Michel

By Jean-Claude Michel

Of their uprising opposed to Western civilization, the ecu surrealists contested their very own society, of which, black surrealists have been subjected to even harsher and shared an identical dreadful racial reminiscence of the slave send. Black surrealists might attempt to totally remove this adversarial society via paintings, phrases, and metaphors.

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An anger conveyed above all by words, this language dear to the surrealist when accusing, Légitime Défense’s Allegiance to Surrealism 29  denouncing, excommunicating, the very language of the redactors of Légitime Défense when they were proclaiming: Among all of those abject bourgeois conventionalities, we particularly execrate humanitarian hypocrisy, this stinking emanation of Christian decay. We hate compassion. Sentimentalities means nothing to us . . 45 There, those young West Indians were not deviating from Breton’s dictate when he asserted in his second manifesto that everything had to be done, and every means should be convenient, in order to destroy the notion of family, of country and the mere idea of religion.

But it was 1932, at the apogee of colonialism, and at this time, any indications announcing the approaching end of this unjust system. Furthermore, recalled Breton: Going further back a few generations away, there is slavery, and the wound that encompasses the greatness of lost Africa, is ripped open again. 15 Légitime Défense’s Allegiance to Surrealism 21  This African legacy was burdened with traumas. 17 That were of little importance: racial prejudice as well as human emotions are often irrational.

Beside, they had precisely anticipated such a critic in a memo at the bottom of the second page of their review, which stated: If our critic in this review is merely negative, if against what we attempt strongly to condemn without appeal we do not present any positive indictment, we apologize on the urgent need to start this movement in the spur of the moment. Beginning in the next issue, we hope to explain our own ideology of the Revolution. 48 There would be no next issue. Légitime Défense provoked a tremendous scandal in Martinique, outraging the establishment.

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