Celebrating Darkness and Exploring Practical Afro-Futurism in IWU Art Exhibits

Two art exhibits at Wakeley and Merwin Galleries on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus celebrate the fullness of darkness and explore the theme of Afro-futurism.

The driving forces behind bringing this showcase of black artists to the community are gallery director Carmen Lozar and assistant professor of theater arts Michelle Gibbs.

“Celebrating Blackness” features a wide variety of works, from glass to tapestry to collage in the Wakeley Gallery.

“We wanted an opportunity to really celebrate blackness in all its variety and forms…and were really looking for spaces to be able to explore the fullness of black life and black identities,” Gibbs said.

Next, in the Merwin Gallery, “Future Spaces in Community Places”, an exhibition that explores practical Afro-futurism, where Afro-futurism imagines black people living in the future with science fiction themes integrating culture and black history. It’s a practical idea that Lozar describes as “Afro-futurism that meets the daily needs of those who participate in it.”

This room features the work of University of Illinois assistant graphic design professor and illustrator Stacey Robinson and her collaborators, with digital collages, comic book characters, and manga.

The community is invited to these exhibitions which are open until Thursday 3 March. More details can be found at iwu.edu/art/galleries.

William E. Bennett