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Join us in person on Friday, November 4 at 7 PM as Igiaba Scego talks about her new book, The Color Line.
Inspired by true events, this gorgeous, haunting novel intertwines the lives of two Black female artists more than a century apart, both outsiders in Italy.
It was the middle of the nineteenth century when Lafanu Brown audaciously decided to become an artist. In the wake of the American Civil War, life was especially tough for Black women, but she didn’t let that stop her. The daughter of a Native American woman and an African-Haitian man, Lafanu had the rare opportunity to study, travel, and follow her dreams, thanks to her indomitable spirit, but not without facing intolerance and violence. Now, in 1887, living in Rome as one of the city’s most established painters, she is ready to tell her fiancé about her difficult life, which began in a poor family forty years earlier.
In 2019, an Italian art curator of Somali origin is desperately trying to bring to Europe her younger cousin, who is only sixteen and has already tried to reach Italy on a long, treacherous journey. While organizing an art exhibition that will combine the paintings of Lafanu Brown with the artworks of young migrants, the curator becomes more and more obsessed with the life and secrets of the nineteenth-century painter.
Weaving together these two vibrant voices, Igiaba Scego has crafted a powerful exploration of what it means to be “other,” to be a woman, and particularly a Black woman, in a foreign country, yesterday and today.
Igiaba Scego was born in Rome in 1974 to a family of Somali ancestry. She holds a PhD in education on postcolonial subjects and has done extensive academic work in Italy and around the world. Her memoir La mia casa è dove sono won Italy’s prestigious Mondello Prize. She is a frequent contributor to the magazine Internazionale and to Il Venerdì di Repubblica, a supplement to La Repubblica.
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