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Learn the legacy of Black surrealist poet for free at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg

Aimé Césaire was a key figure in establishing an African diaspora literary movement.
Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), écrivain et homme politique français. France, 1949.
Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), écrivain et homme politique français. France, 1949. [ (C) HENRI MARTINIE / ROGER-VIOLLET | Courtesy of Henri Martinie / Roger-Violl ]
Published Sep. 8
Updated Sep. 10

The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg continues to highlight surrealism’s influence with a new exhibition revealing the life and legacy of renowned Black poet, author and politician Aimé Césaire, who lived from 1913 to 2008.

“Aimé Césaire: Poetry, Surrealism and Négritude” examines his poetry, political activism and ties to the art and literature of his time.

The free exhibition opens Sept. 10 in the Raymond James Community Room. It was co-curated by St. Petersburg’s the Studio@620 founder and artistic director Bob Devin Jones and Dalí Museum curator of education Peter Tush.

Hailing from French Caribbean island Martinique, Césaire co-founded the movement Négritude while studying in Paris in the 1930s. Négritude was a movement that aimed to develop an anti-colonialist awareness of Black culture. It was influenced by surrealism and the Harlem Renaissance.

Césaire and his fellow writer, wife Suzanne, founded the literary review Tropiques, which featured anti-colonial poetry and essays penned by a group of Martinican intellectuals.

He found a friend and supporter in surrealism co-founder Andre Breton — likewise with Pablo Picasso, whose drypoints and etchings illustrated Césaire’s collection of poems, Corps perdu (Lost Body).

In 1945, he was elected mayor of Fort-de-France, Martinique, and deputy to the French National Assembly. He later founded the Parti Progressiste Martiniquais, serving the party for 47 years.

A variety of Césaire’s books will be available for purchase in the museum store. Programming will include poetry readings, performing arts and lectures at the Dalí and the Studio@620.

While access to the exhibit and the museum’s ground floor is free, online timed reservations must be made by selecting “ground floor only” at thedali.org/exhibit/aime.

If you go

“Aimé Césaire: Poetry, Surrealism and Négritude.” Runs through Dec. 5. Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive and Fifth Ave. SE), St. Petersburg. 727-823-3767. thedali.org. To find information about programming at the Studio@620, visit thestudioat620.org.