© Man Ray
“What am I to say about myself? I love peace, the countryside, republican Spain and anti-fascist Italy, Blacks and their African and Afro-American culture, all the Latin America that I know, music, art, poetry, and journalism.”
Nancy Cunard, Poems for France, published 1944, later published in French as Poèmes à la France, 1947.
It would be impossible to pass this tribal-themed week without taking a moment to consider Nancy Cunard, English icon of the 1920s. With her aristocratic composure, she had a highly individual and daring style, with an innate sense for modernity. She was a fierce campaigner for black communities, with an unceasing desire to draw attention to black culture and social conditions, particularly with the publication of the highly controversial and ground-breaking Negro Anthology. She had a passion for African art and began a vast collection with the encouragement of Louis Aragon, one of her many lovers. Her most prized pieces included ivory cuffs that she proudly displayed stacked on her arms as a symbol of the cause that she defended so vehemently. Passionate, non-conformist, and artist as well as muse, I greatly admire the exceptional aura of this iconic woman and pioneer of wearing cuffs on both arms!
L'Atlantique noir de Nancy Cunard, Negro anthologie, Gradhiva numéro 19, Musée du Quai Branly.