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.
In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces ideas of the mythic and the speculative. It brings to life the forces that shape Afrofuturism - the cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of the everyday of 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.
Standing apart from Western narratives of progress and modernity - based as they are on the historical subjugation of people of colour - the book explores how Black artists are drawing inspiration from African-originated myth, knowledge systems and spiritual practices to confound the Western dichotomy between the real and unreal, the natural and the supernatural. With 250 illustrations spanning the spheres of photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, literature and architecture, this book reaches across time, space and art form, drawing together everything from works by leading visual artists such as Kara Walker, Chris Ofili and Lina Iris Viktor to groundbreaking films like Black Panther and Get Out and the radical politics of pan-Africanism.
Divided into three sections - ‘Invocation’, ‘Migration’ and ‘Liberation’ - each introduced by Eshun, the book also includes two commissioned essays by Michelle D. Commander and Kameelah L. Martin, as well as selected text extracts from other voices. Rich in ideas and vast in scope, In the Black Fantastic presents a thrilling and timely survey of a movement in which fantasy is the gateway to creative and cultural liberation.