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Titus Kaphar Talks Art, University Connections to Slavery

Titus Kaphar, an African-American painter and sculptor whose works are featured in the Museum of Modern Art, discussed the intersection between racism and Princeton University’s history on Thursday, November 17th, in McCosh Hall.

Kaphar’s “Impressions of Liberty” will be featured for six weeks on the lawn next to Princeton's historic Maclean House. The large-scale wood and glass structure presents a bust of Samuel Finley, a slaveowner and the fifth president of Princeton, combined with the glass portraits of an African-American man, woman, and child. It is currently located under the American sycamore trees, ironically nicknamed “liberty trees,” where Finley’s slaves were auctioned in 1766.

At twilight, when the sun begins to set, the figures in the front appear brighter and blend with the figures in the background. Kaphar explained that the sculpture is supposed to be “visually confusing,” and that the sculpture’s impact is intended to be increased because it “is a struggle to see.”

Read more at The Daily Princetonian.

Did You Know...?Most of Princeton's founding trustees bought, sold, traded, or inherited enslaved people. Read More