Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Angel 37159


Alfredo Jaar (Santiago, Chile, 2/5/1956 - )



Creation Date



early 21st century


30 1/4 x 86 1/2 x 1 1/16 in. (76.84 x 219.71 x 2.7 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Africa, Angola

Medium and Support

c-print on mounted on plexiglas

Credit Line

Archival Collection of Marion Boulton Stroud and Acadia Summer Arts Program, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Gift from the Marion Boulton "Kippy" Stroud Foundation


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Accession Number

Set against the backdrop of Luanda, Angola, the young man depicted in Alfredo Jaar’s Angel evokes qualities associated with contemporary power objects responding to global inequalities. Before Jaar made the photograph, the subject spoke of the city’s economic struggles, yet emphasized that angels watched over Angolans. The boy’s raised hand is reminiscent of the pose of Central African power figures called nkisi nkondi, whose raised arms held spears or weapons. Other power objects on view in the exhibition address how people used them to call upon ancestors for guidance and protection. Here in the photograph, the young man is an analogous vehicle of power, gesturing toward invisible forces that will guide Angolans to prosperity.

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