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Manual, a journal about art and its making. Shadows. This anti-visibility is not the same as being invisible, rather it is the power to operate against systems of imperial domination, including the gaze. It asks: How do we force the gaze to surrender? What if explanation were off the table? By enabling a petit marronage that can be expressed in the visual and symbolic use of shadow, the gaze is challenged. This issue of Manual and the accompanying exhibition (opening at the RISD Museum Fall 2020) posit that the right to opacity de-burdens contemporary work by artists who identify as Black and/or queer and/or feminist and/or non-binary and/or OVER IT—whatever sociocultural constriction “it” signifies. Opacity extends to artists who are simply not interested in explaining themselves or offering the emotional labor that is expended for inclusion. This right says, “I have given enough.” It also legitimizes and reclaims the shadow as a place of refuge, instead of being a place from which to escape. –Anita N. Bateman
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.” Softcover, 108 pages. Published Fall/Winter 2020 by the RISD Museum. Manual 14 (Shadows) contributors include: 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, and Leslie Wilson. This issue complements the RISD Museum exhibition Defying the Shadow, curated by Dr. Anita N. Bateman.

Publication Date

Fall 2020

Document Type



Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design


Providence, Rhode Island


RISD Museum; Manual; art journal


Art and Design


In this issue:

From the Files pries open the archive, Double Take looks at one object two different ways, Artist on Art offers a creative response by an invited artist, Object Lesson exposes the stories behind objects, Portfolio presents a series of objects on a theme, How To explores the making of an object.

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Manual / Issue 14 / Shadows