Join us this month to explore Dr. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere’s captivating retelling of the Black Madonna narrative in her debut novel, Finding La Negrita (2022). Set in colonial Costa Rica, this is the story of Dakarai, a famed African sculptor who must buy his freedom after he is stolen into slavery, reuniting with his daughter, Jendayi, who has lived outside of bondage since infancy. The story spans time and space as they grapple with the secrets and sacrifices a single father confronts while raising a strong-minded girl in an era with a precarious line between autonomy and enslavement. In the midst of this, a future holy relic is born, under circumstances that could put their freedom, if not their very lives, on the line.
During the program, Gordon-Chipembere will read an excerpt of her edge-of-your seat novel, paired with images of the Black Madonna found across the world. The event will also feature visual art that speaks to the divine Black feminine. Gordon-Chipembere will then join social psychologist, public theologian, and author Dr. Christena Cleveland in a conversation moderated by literary maven Lisa Pegram. The talk will center on their journeys as artists inspired by spiritual iconography, traveling from the spark of divine inspiration to a work’s creation.