Feature

What is Afrofuturism and why do you need to know about it?

"Afrofuturism is as much a critique of today as it is a vision of tomorrow."

African Woman's head, covered with a scarf that has 3 arms sticking out it
Wolf McFarlane
Zayo Minds Reach


Afrofuturism is many things, but the short definition is: an aesthetic movement with an Afrocentric, science fiction-inspired vision of the future.

This dazzling movement spans many media – from literature to film to music and, of course, the visual arts. Beautiful cyborg queens, spaceships that put Star Wars to shame and the most wicked sunglasses you can imagine are just a few of its signature features.

 

Afro-futurist illustration of man with mechanical wings

Quentin VerCetty
EVEning Wing
 


Beyond cool

Image of African inspired mask projecting from third eye
Kalkidan Assefa
Arktype-XVII

While there’s no denying that Afrofuturism is incredibly cool, behind all the gold and neon are some important messages. Born in the early 1990s, Afrofuturism is as much a critique of today as it is a vision of tomorrow. By painting a picture of a future populated with people of colour who have technologically enhanced bodies and superhuman strength, who drive opulent spacecrafts and live in worlds where power is not a struggle, Afrofuturism artists imagine a future that has left a problematic world of Euro-centrism, oppression and injustice in the past.  

 

Black Future Month 3016
 

Black Future Month 3016 overtop image of Toronto Skyline featuring OCAD U

Afrofuturism’s fantastical futures are thriving at OCAD University. The exhibition Black Future Month 3016 opened on February 3 with a vibrant vernissage. Art by OCAD U’s own students and alumni, as well as international participants, are gathered together to present an energizing vision of the31st century.

The works in this exhibition are colourful, powerful and exciting. Though collectively the exhibition presents a rich visual tapestry of Afrofuturism, each piece is inspired by the lived experience of an individual and thus demands close looking and thoughtful reflection.

So, if this is the first you’ve heard of Afrofuturism, it surely will not be the last. Do yourself a favour and check out Black Future Month 3016 and the other exhilarating Afrofuturist happenings in your city.

 

Image of an intricate afro-steam punk totem illustration
Black Kirby
Funky Totem 1

Image is a digital painting of a woman standing in shallow water
Alecia Doyley
Korralok

Emily Cluett is an emerging curator enrolled in OCAD University’s Criticism & Curatorial Practice MFA program.

 




African Woman's head, covered with a scarf that has 3 arms sticking out it
Wolf McFarlane
Zayo Minds Reach


Afrofuturism is many things, but the short definition is: an aesthetic movement with an Afrocentric, science fiction-inspired vision of the future.

This dazzling movement spans many media – from literature to film to music and, of course, the visual arts. Beautiful cyborg queens, spaceships that put Star Wars to shame and the most wicked sunglasses you can imagine are just a few of its signature features.

 

Afro-futurist illustration of man with mechanical wings

Quentin VerCetty
EVEning Wing
 


Beyond cool

Image of African inspired mask projecting from third eye
Kalkidan Assefa
Arktype-XVII

While there’s no denying that Afrofuturism is incredibly cool, behind all the gold and neon are some important messages. Born in the early 1990s, Afrofuturism is as much a critique of today as it is a vision of tomorrow. By painting a picture of a future populated with people of colour who have technologically enhanced bodies and superhuman strength, who drive opulent spacecrafts and live in worlds where power is not a struggle, Afrofuturism artists imagine a future that has left a problematic world of Euro-centrism, oppression and injustice in the past.  

 

Black Future Month 3016
 

Black Future Month 3016 overtop image of Toronto Skyline featuring OCAD U

Afrofuturism’s fantastical futures are thriving at OCAD University. The exhibition Black Future Month 3016 opened on February 3 with a vibrant vernissage. Art by OCAD U’s own students and alumni, as well as international participants, are gathered together to present an energizing vision of the31st century.

The works in this exhibition are colourful, powerful and exciting. Though collectively the exhibition presents a rich visual tapestry of Afrofuturism, each piece is inspired by the lived experience of an individual and thus demands close looking and thoughtful reflection.

So, if this is the first you’ve heard of Afrofuturism, it surely will not be the last. Do yourself a favour and check out Black Future Month 3016 and the other exhilarating Afrofuturist happenings in your city.

 

Image of an intricate afro-steam punk totem illustration
Black Kirby
Funky Totem 1

Image is a digital painting of a woman standing in shallow water
Alecia Doyley
Korralok

Emily Cluett is an emerging curator enrolled in OCAD University’s Criticism & Curatorial Practice MFA program.

 

Author: 
Emily Cluett
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