Photograph of a person with outstretched arm sillhouetted against a red window







Issue 14 






Issue 14 — Digital Preview




Romancing the Shadow

Anita N. Bateman



Fred Wilson, "X" (detail), 2005



Butterfly Hymnals That Won't
Disturb the Pleasant:
Complacency, and Other Lullabies

Shuriya Davis




American, Untitled (detail), 1959



Ming Smith's
Romare Bearden, New York, 1977

Matthew Shenoda / Rashayla Marie Brown




Ming Smith, "Romare Bearden, New York, NY, 1977" (detail), 1977 printed ca. 1991



Defying the Shadow
Reading List

Anita N. Bateman




black and white snapshot of a Black woman relaxing in an easy chair

Print Edition

Proceeds from this issue go to RI Solidarity Fund
in support of communities of color LEARN MORE ↗



Andrea Achi
Emanuel Admassu
Anita N. Bateman
Makeda Best
Gina Borromeo
Rashayla Marie Brown
Shuriya Davis
Akwaeke Emezi
Tayana Fincher
Melanee C. Harvey
Kate Irvin
Sade LaNay
Kelly Taylor Mitchell
Dominic Molon
Oluremi C. Onabanjo
Kevin Quashie
Matthew Shenoda
Leslie Wilson


Issue 14 — Shadows


The RISD Museum’s fourteenth issue of Manual shines a light on the shadow, centering the black body as a site of possibility, liberatory self-awareness, radical non-conformity, and joyful defiance. This issue serves as a companion to the exhibition Defying the Shadow.

Manual 14: Shadows opens with an excerpt on the shadow from W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, followed by an introduction by Dr. Anita N. Bateman, who elucidates: “Operating in the shadow comes with a legacy of resistance, both in spiritual and ideological forms.”




From the Files

Dominic Molon ponders the meaning of waiting for Nick Cave’s Soundsuit to arrive.


Artists on Art

Akwaeke Emezi eats the sun, removing the shadow by removing the light.

Shuriya Davis sings from Butterfly Hymnals That Won’t Disturb the Pleasant: Complacency, and Other Lullabies.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell reminds you that Black people don’t owe you shit.


Double Takes

Rashayla Marie Brown and Matthew Shenoda celebrate the love in Ming Smith’s Romare Bearden, New York, NY, 1977

Leslie Wilson and Emanuel Admassu consider sideways glances and multiple meanings in Aïda Muluneh’s Age of Anxiety

Andrea Achi and Gina Borromeo grapple with racial types, missing handles, and the long lost history of an ancient bust of an African child

Kevin Quashie and Sade LaNay take a peep at Black privacy, gender, and sensuality in Toyin Ojih Odutola’s Last Portrait of the 18th Marquess



Radiant works and glorious shadows from across the RISD Museum’s collection


Object Lessons

Makeda Best highlights Calvin Burnett’s 1964 portrait of Sojourner Truth, and the photos Truth herself commissioned.

Melanee C. Harvey studies the preliminary works for and final version of Aaron Douglas’s Building More Stately Mansions.

Tayana Fincher casts new light on a 19th-century Nubian sandal, its largely obfuscated earlier history, and its purpose in a museum collection.


How To

Kate Irvin lays out how Harmonia Rosales and Fe Noel collaborated to Design the Black Imaginary to Counter Hegemony (B.I.T.C.H.).

Oluremi C. Onabanjo illuminates how Carrie Mae Weems haunts history.



RISD Museum Director: John W. Smith
Manual Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Ganz Blythe
Editor: Amy Pickworth
Art Director: Brendan Campbell
Graphic Designers: Jada Akoto, Everett Epstein, & Hilary Dupont
Photographer: Erik Gould (unless otherwise noted)
Printer: GHP



Free Download

Manual 14: Shadows can be downloaded at no charge for people who identify as Black, of Black African descent, or members of the African diaspora.  READ NOW ↗



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A publication lies open on a white surface. Resting in the middle of the page is a rainbow-colored bookmark, the word “Manual” stamped onto it.





Cover Image:

Renée Stout, Red Room at Five (E) (detail), 1999

Mary B. Jackson Fund

© Renée Stout