Cultural and Historical Studies tutor and founder of the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD) Teleica, defines Afrofuturism and introduces a series of creatives that place this philosophy at the heart of their work.
Afrofuturism is a philosophy that looks at the realms of technology, science fiction, aesthetics, mythology and metaphysics of African and African diaspora culture and spirituality. It puts people of African heritage into narratives where they wouldn’t normally feature.
What sets Afrofuturism apart from any other science fiction is the heavy reference of historical African ephemera to develop and enhance the aesthetics and the way these elements are used with modern and futuristic styling. This combined with an interest in outer space and technological advancement along with the use of unusual shapes and colours in clothing and accessories enables any imagery within this genre to be immediately identified as Afrofuturistic. Artist and visionary Sun Ra – who was active from the mid 1950s until his death – used recreations of ancient Egyptian material culture to develop his persona and artistry and was considered the pioneer of of Afrofuturism. With the advent of disco and the use of metallic fabrics and colour ways in fashion design and styling, it became a defining moment when other music bands like Earth Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic and Labelle developed an Afrofuturistic outlook. Today musicians such as Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, FKA Twigs and Ibeyi to name a few, all adopt an Afrofuturistic look to their styling and video visuals. Below are a few other artists who represent an Afrofuturistic outlook in their work.
Feature image credit: ‘Ilgelunot’ by Osborne Macharia.
Fashion – AphiaSakyi
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