An epic in its time, The Song of Hiawatha by Henry W Longfellow had a long afterlife in visual art. Anna Arabindan-Kesson's paper focuses on the work of Robert S Duncanson, Robert Douglass Jr. and Edmonia Lewis, three artists who included representations of Native Americans in their artistic production. Thinking of these works as sites of convergence, Arabindan-Kesson examines their intermediality - the ways these artists translated poetry into paint and marble - in their depiction of colonial encounters. In working through their acts of translation, Arabindan-Kesson wants to ask how these artists negotiate acts of reading and looking, and what do their representations – troubling as they might appear to us now – reveal about constructions of freedom in the United States, not in relation to the state, but as it could be envisaged in cross-cultural encounters between African American and Native Americans in the pre and post Civil War years?
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