American Reflections

October 19, 2019 – January 20, 2020

Black artists explore spirituality and culture in Afrocosmologies: American Reflections. Alongside artists of the late-nineteenth century, contemporary artists define new ideas about spirituality, identity, and the environment in ways that move beyond traditional narratives of Black Christianity. In dialogue, these works acknowledge a continuing body of beliefs—a cosmology—that incorporates the centrality of nature, ritual, and relationships between the human and the divine. Emerging from the rich religious and aesthetic traditions of West Africa and the Americas, these works present a dynamic cosmos of influences that shape Contemporary art. 

The exhibition  brings together the work of an incredible assortment of artists including Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Elizabeth Catlett, Willie Cole, Melvin Edwards, Titus Kaphar, Lois Mailou Jones, Kerry James Marshall, Alison Saar, Hale Woodruff, Shinique Smith, and Kehinde Wiley along with many additional artists of note. It will be accompanied by a 156-page, fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Frank Mitchell, Berrisford Boothe, Claudia Highbaugh, and Kristin Hass—released in October 2019.


October 12 | Encounters: The Black Church and Social Justice
October 12 | Second Saturdays for Families: Community Connections
October 21 | Fall Evening for Educators
October 31 | Performance by Adama Delphine Fawundu
November 3 | The Nat Reeves Experience
November 6 | Artist Panel Moderated by Kimberly Drew
November 9 | Encounters: Afrocosmologies: American Reflections
November 9 | Second Saturday for Families: Guiding Light
November 15 | Afrocosmologies and African American Art
November 21 | Stories in Cloth and Color
December 20 | A New Cosmos
January 19 | Mirror Visions Ensemble
January 20 | Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Day


October 25 | Sprinter
October 26 | Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
October 26 | Harriet [Please note Harriet will be screened at Bow Tie Cinema Palace, 330 New Park Ave. Hartford]
October 27 | Reggae Boyz 
October 27 | To Sleep with Anger
November 9 | If Beale Street Could Talk
November 23 | Soul Food


Tours of the exhibition take place on Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm from October 26–January 20.


Audio Tour Hear insights from Afrocosmologies artists, accessible here from any location on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

A collaboration of

Major support provided by Agnes and William R. Peelle Jr., The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., The Petrucci Family Foundation, and Hartford Healthcare with additional support from Stephen Stroud and Mayra Bonilla, and Emilie and Raul de Brigard.

 Sustaining support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided by Newman’s Own Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.