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Invisible Man

Emphasised materiality embodied boldly. Yet still unseen.

This is the cloak of invisibility.

-they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination-

-indeed, everything and anything except me- 

“I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”

These words are from Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, Invisible Man.

The novel uses the extended metaphor of invisibility to explore the construction of racial identity in 1950s America. 65 years after publication, the words of the Invisible Man not only hold their resonance within African American communities, but they also encapsulate the traumas of wider communities in their plight for recognition in contemporary society.

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