Where the High Five came From: The Art of the Kingdom of Kongo
By Robert Farris Thompson
Center for Africana Studies, Vance Academic Center, Room 105
Friday, October 4, 7:30pm
Dr. Robert Farris Thompson has devoted his life to the study of the art history of the Afro-Atlantic world. This presentation focuses on the origin of the High Five, a gesture seen as uniquely American. Dr. Thompson, a dynamic speaker, discusses the origin of this physical gesture and the meanings behind it.
His first book, Black Gods and Kings, was a close iconographic reading of the art history of the forty million Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. He has published texts on the structure and meaning of African dance, African Art in Motion, and a reader on the art history of the Black Americas, Flash of the Spirit, which has remained in print since its publication in 1983. Thompson has published two books on the bark cloth art of the Bambenga or Buraka of the Ituri Forest, plus the first international study of altars of the Black Atlantic world, Face of the Gods and most recently Tango: The Art History of Love. In addition, he has published an introduction to the diaries of Keith Haring, studies the art of José Bedia and Guillermo Kuitca and has been anthologized fifteen times and his writings have been published in five different languages. He is also the Master of Timothy Dwight College at Yale.