A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious, and politically urgent.
In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces the mythic and the speculative. Merging visual elements from folklore, science fiction and spiritual tradition, it brings vividly to life the forces that shape Afrofuturism, the cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of everyday Black experience. In works that span photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, graphic arts, and architecture, In the Black Fantastic shows how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity, and the body.
Standing apart from Western narratives of progress and modernity—which are premised on the historical subjugation of people of color—In the Black Fantastic explores the ways that Black artists draw inspiration from African-originated myths, beliefs, and knowledge systems, confounding the Western dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the natural and the supernatural. This lavishly illustrated volume, which accompanies a major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London, brings together work by such leading artists as Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and Ellen Gallagher; explores the groundbreaking films Black Panther and Get Out; considers the radical politics of pan-Africanism; and much more. Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery, contributes a foreword.
Each section—"Invocation,” “Migration,” and “Liberation”—includes an introductory text by volume editor Ekow Eshun. Longer essays by Eshun, Kameelah L. Martin, and Michelle D. Commander take up additional aspects of Afro-futurism.
Exhibition: Hayward Gallery, London, June 2022