Resistance (2019)

Hank Willis Thomas

Painted resin
74.9 x 22.5 x 45 cm

55.88 x 15.25 x 15.25 cm

Le Menagerie
6 panels: glass mirrors
93.98 x 63.5 cm each

Material of the Congo
Screen print on retroreflective vinyl, mounted on Dibond
121.92 x 76.2 cm

Courtesy of the artist


At the intersection of art and activism, Hank Willis Thomas’ work reframes material from contemporary consumer culture and histories of colonialism, shedding light on the legacy
of oppressive systems and stereotypes. Resistance (2019) responds to the legacy of the leopard men of the Anyoto tribe, a West African anti-colonial secret society active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, historically portrayed as violent and menacing in
the Eurocentric imagination. Material of the Congo (2019) and Le Menagerie (2019) reflect on the commodification and exploitation of Black labour
and natural resources under imperial occupation. Antwerp (2019), meanwhile, highlights the Belgian colonial regime’s practice of amputating the hands of Congolese labourers who failed to meet rubber quotas.