Repainting History in Technicolor

Esiri Erheriene-Essi’s 'Familiar Strangers' Finds New Recognition in Photographs of the Mid-Century African Diaspora

The earliest colored photographs were fragile black-and-white daguerreotypes, hand-painted with a watercolor technique. The task was laborious, not to mention risky, because the plates were so easily damaged. But the result, a cross between painting and photograph, gave the 19th-century pictures a new level of verisimilitude.

Today, London-born and Amsterdam-based painter Esiri Erheriene-Essi pursues a different sort of visual fidelity when she transforms archival mid-century snapshots of the African diaspora through oil paint and often xerox transfer, a graphic technique she uses to layer images onto the background of her …

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Printing Petals | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Printing Petals

Lara Costafreda is a Catalan illustrator who creates delicate and lively watercolors that reflect her background in fashion design. Her work has taken her from Barcelona to Brazil and back …

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London

A Muralist Finds Herself Captivated by the Bay Area Writer, Crusader for Justice, and Drunken Brawler

Growing up in the Bay Area, I heard a lot of family lore about Jack London, and my great-grandfather George Samuels.

Samuels had been a district attorney, a police court judge, …

The Mystical, Magical, Terrifying Supernatural Cats of Japan | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Mystical, Magical, Terrifying Supernatural Cats of Japan

From Shapeshifters to Demonic Corpse Eaters, Centuries of Catlore on the Prowl

Japan loves cats. A quick glance at anything related to Japanese pop culture will show you this: Hello Kitty. Cat cafes. Wearable electronic cat ears that respond to your emotional …

Ready to Take Wing | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Ready to Take Wing

Àngela Maria Sierra, also known as Riso Chan, is a Spanish artist and the founder of the Amsterdam-based art school Bloom Art House. Her artwork revolves around portraits and nature.

For …

‘Sharp and Subversive’ Scenes of Integrated 1940s Summer Camps  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

‘Sharp and Subversive’ Scenes of Integrated 1940s Summer Camps 

Gordon Parks's Photos of Black and White Kids at Play Resisted Segregation in Nature and Beyond by Presenting a Vision of America as He Hoped It Could Be

One day in 1923, three white boys pushed 11-year-old Gordon Parks into the Marmaton River in rural Kansas. Parks couldn’t swim and he tumbled under the surface, the current pushing …