A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious, and politically urgent.
A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative and artistically ambitious, In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora. Embracing the mythic and the speculative, it recycles and reconfigures elements of fable, folklore, science fiction, spiritual traditions, ceremonial pageantry, and the legacies of Afrofuturism. In works that span photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, graphic arts, music and architecture, In the Black Fantastic shows how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender and identity.
Standing apart from Western narratives of progress and modernity premised on the historical subjugation of people of color, In the Black Fantastic celebrates the ways that Black artists draw inspiration from African-originated myths, beliefs, and knowledge systems, confounding the Western dichotomy between the real and unreal, the scientific and the supernatural. Featuring more than 300 color illustrations, this beautifully designed book brings together works by leading artists such as Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and Ellen Gallagher; explores groundbreaking films like Daughters of the Dust and Get Out; considers the radical politics of pan-Africanism and postcolonialism; and much more.
Each section — "Invocation," "Migration," and "Liberation" — includes an introductory text by Ekow Eshun and longer essays by Eshun, Kameelah L. Martin, and Michelle D. Commander.
Larry Achiampong, Jim Adams, Djeneba Aduayom, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, John Akomfrah, David Alabo, Edgar Arceneaux, Marc Asekhame, Belkis Ayón, Radcliffe Bailey, Raphaël Barontini, Beddo, Sanford Biggers, Nuotama Bodomo, Nick Cave, Sedrick Chisom, Jacek Chyrosz, Coldefy, Raffaele Contigiani, Damon Davis, Cristina de Middel, Imani Dennison, Jeff Donaldson, Kimathi Donkor, Aaron Douglas, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Curtis Essel, Minnie Evans, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Ali Fao, Raymond Thomas Farah, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Heinz Fenchel, Ellen Gallagher, Rico Gatson, Maïmouna Guerresi, Prince Gyasi, Lauren Halsey, Allison Janae Hamilton, Thomas Heatherwick, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Kordae Jatafa Henry, David Huffman, Juliana Huxtable, Zas Ieluhee, Alex Jackson, Ayana V. Jackson, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Shintaro Kago, Kéré Architecture, Black Kirby, Victoria Kovios, Wole Lagunju, Wifredo Lam, Jean François Lamoureux, Thomas Leitersdorf, Namsa Leuba, Hew Locke, Michael MacGarry, Gerald Machona, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jean-Louis Marin, Markn, Kerry James Marshall, Moshel Mayer, Mohau Modisakeng, Puleng Mongale, Fabrice Monteiro, Ronald Moody, Kristin-Lee Moolman, Jean-Claude Moschetti, Aïda Muluneh, Wangechi Mutu, Gustavo Nazareno, Rashaad Newsome, Daniel Obasi, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Ruby Okoro, Rinaldo Olivieri, Yaoundé Olu, Zohra Opoku, Tasha Orlova, Frida Orupabo, Gordon Parks, Jordan Peele, James Phillips, Naudline Pierre, Keith Piper, Robert Pruitt, Umar Rashid, Robert Reed, Tabita Rezaire, Stacey Robinson, Athi-Patra Ruga, Stanislaw Rymaszewski, Alison Saar, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Ignace Sawadogo, Devan Shimoyama, Yinka Shonibare, Mary Sibande, Lorna Simpson, Cauleen Smith, Tavares Strachan, Mickalene Thomas, Bob Thompson, Wilfred Ukpong, David Uzochukwu, Lina Iris Viktor, William Villalongo, Hannsjörg Voth, Kara Walker, Gerald Williams, Kandis Williams, Peter Williams, Saya Woolfalk, Alisha B. Wormsley, Zaha Hadid Architects
“A bold and vital collection of artists working at the dissolving boundary between real and unreal, natural and supernatural.” The Boston Globe
“Eshun offers a primer on what the "Black Fantastic" encompasses: works of art that incorporate myth, fantasy and science fiction to reimagine Black culture and identity.” The Washington Post Book World
"Eshun recycles and reconfigures elements of folklore, science fiction, spiritual traditions, ceremonial pageantry, and the legacies of Afrofuturism in this exploration of Black culture." Publishers Weekly
Ekow Eshun is a writer and curator based in London. Formerly Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is the author of Black Gold of the Sun and Africa State of Mind.
Michelle D. Commander is Associate Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York and the author of Afro-Atlantic Flight.
Kameelah L. Martin is Dean of the graduate school of African American Studies and English at the College of Charleston.