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The Shadow of the Earth

The Shadow of the Earth is the second design from the We are Animals I series, a series of pieces portraying great minds wronged by humanity’s thoughts. This piece shows Suzanne Césaire. She was born in Martinique, an overseas department of France located in the Caribbean Sea. She was a French writer, teacher, theorist, anti-colonial, and an active feminist who participated in the Union des Femmes Françaises. She published most of her work in the journal Tropiques, which she co-founded during the authoritarian government of Marshal Philippe Pétain, an independent ally of Nazi Germany during World War II. The journal established surrealism as a means of cultural liberation and used the arts as a method of communicating political agendas without the government’s censorship knowledge.

Her affinity with surrealism led her to start a close relationship with another surrealist, André Breton, with opened the way for her development of Afro-Surrealism.

Our surrealism will then deliver it the bread of its depths […] Colonial stupidity will be purified in the blue welding flame. Our value as metal, our cutting edge of steel, our amazing communions will be recovered.

— Suzanne Césaire – Surrealism and Us (1943)

Tropiques was the most influential Caribbean journal of its time and a foundational piece in the development of Martiniquan literature. She played a crucial role in both the administrative and intellectual roles of the platform, and yet despite her substantial written and editorial contribution to the journal, two men, Aimé Césaire, her husband, and René Ménil, were cited as the fundamental catalysts for the journal.

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