A reckoning with our past

Yale examines its historical ties with slavery.

Titus Kaphar ’06MFA

Titus Kaphar ’06MFA

“Enough About You” (2016), by artist Titus Kaphar ’06MFA, puts the focus on this unnamed Black boy, who was overlooked for centuries in a painting that prominently features Elihu Yale and members of his family. In that work, painted in the eighteenth century and held by the Yale Center for British Art, the boy—wearing a metal collar that he could not remove—is left in the shadows. In Kaphar’s work, it’s just possible to identify Yale in the crumpled canvas off to the side. View full image

Along with dozens of other schools, Yale has opened a long-closed door to a part of its past that had been hidden. In the following pages, you’ll learn about that past, and you’ll read some painful history.

As a start, however, we offer this contemporary artwork: Enough About You, by Titus Kaphar ’06MFA. It’s a powerful rejoinder to a much older painting, and to the many who caused terrible suffering.