International Journal of Arts and Humanities

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Black Links to Be Seen: African Americans in Ben Shahn’s Illustrations

Hsiao-wei Huang



Accepted 2nd June, 2020.


This study examined the works of American social realist artist Ben Shahn. During the Cold War following World War II, the artist created a multi-material artistic link by integrating illustration, painting, and photography into his editorial illustrations based on specific texts, in which issues regarding the black community were closely associated with illustrations and events of the era. In spite of the postwar social/political dilemmas in America, Shahn succeeded in ublicizing the mass images revolving around particular textual subjects to mass media, galleries, and general public. In this way, the long-buried lives of the black people in America were brought into the public’s view.


Keywords: Ben Shahn, editorial illustration, social realist art, African American, mass media.