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In the Black Fantastic

Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery

Ekow Eshun


Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London, this is an expressive exploration of Black popular culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious and politically urgent

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In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces ideas of the mythic and the speculative. Neither Afrofuturism nor Magic Realism, but inhabiting its own universe, In the Black Fantastic brings to life a cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of the Black experience – and beyond – looking at how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity and the body in the 21st century.

Transcending time, space and genre to span art, design, fashion architecture, film, literature and popular culture from African myth to future fantasies and beyond, this vital, timely and compelling publication is an expressive exploration of Black popular culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious and politically urgent.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (no jacket)

Size: 25.0 x 19.5 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Illustrations: 265

Publication date: 9 June 2022

ISBN: 9780500024621

Contents List

Foreword by Ralph Rugoff, Director of The Hayward Gallery
Introduction: The Black Fantastic
Chapter 1 Invocation: A Summoning of Spirits
Extract 1: Old Slavery Seen Through Modern
Eyes: Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred and Haile
Gerima’s Sankofa, by Adriano Elia
African Cosmologies and Black Feminism, by Kameelah Martin
Chapter 2 Migration: Journeys Across Sea and Space
Extract 2: Afronauts: Race in Space, by Ian Bourland
The Space for Race, by Michelle Commander
Chapter 3 Liberation: Dreams of Freedom
Extract 3: Afrofutures: Africa and the Aesthetics of Black Revolution, by Tobias Wofford
Film, Play and Reading Lists

About the Author

Ekow Eshun is a writer, curator and journalist based in London, and former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. His previous books include Black Gold of the Sun and Africa State of Mind, the latter published by Thames & Hudson in 2020. Michelle D. Commander is the associate director of New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She is the author of Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic (2017). Kameelah L. Martin is the director of the African American Studies Program and professor of African American Studies and English at the College of Charleston, North Carolina.

List of Contributors

Ralph Rugoff

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