Imagining a Future Back to Itself

Curator and scholar Jeffreen M. Hayes refers to the African Kongo cosmology to place the US American black visual culture as that space full of signifiers where the wishes of an entire community have been deposited, a space that—from the visual—stretches and expands to reformulate what we conceive as a future and encourage us to imagine other possibilities of it through self-recognition, meditation and healing.

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  1. Art Historian Robert Farris Thompson wrote about this in Flash of the Spirit and curated an exhibition Four Moments of the Sun. Anthropologist Grey Gundaker has also researched this in material and visual culture.

  2. Negro was a term used to identify people of African descent in the United states from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

  3. The name is taken from the anthology The New Negro (1925), edited by Alain Locke, that featured the early work of Harlem Renaissance writers, including the poets Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and Claude McKay and the novelists Rudolph Fisher, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jean Toomer.

  4. The Great Migration was a time in US history when hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved from the southern United States to northern urban centers and the west coast for economic coast for economic opportunities that they did not have access to in the south. This mass exodus began in 1916 and lasted into the 1970s.

  5. Augusta Savage, “Augusta Savage on Negro Ideals”, in New York World, May 20, 1923, [n.p.].

  6. The monument was demolished after the closing of the fair. Though it was not intended to be permanent, there was an unsuccessful campaign to raise money to store it and cast it in bronze. James Weldon Johnson, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” NAACP History: Lift Every Voice and Sing, at: [Accessed September 6, 2019].

  7. T.R. Poston, “Augusta Savage,” in Metropolitan Magazine, January, 1935.

  8. Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times was exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, United States) in Gallery 1 & Jackman Goldwasser Catwalk Gallery from March 31 to July 14, 2019.


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