Untitled (History of Black People)

by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)

At the center of the painting he depicts an Egyptian boat being guided down the Nile by Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead. On the right panel of the painting appear the words “Esclave, Slave, Esclave”. On the left panel of the painting Basquiat has illustrated two Nubian style masks. Historically, the Nubians that were darker in skin color were considered to be slaves by the Egyptian people. Throughout the rest of the painting, images of the Atlantic slave trade are juxtaposed with images of the Egyptian slave trade centuries before.

Deuteronomy 5:6-10

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation, 10 but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

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