CHICAGO—In Their Own Form at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago seeks to illuminate the myriad ways blackness might hope to exist without the imposition of oppression, racism and stereotypes ever-present in Western cultures, mediated through Afrofuturist themes including time-travel and escapism. Afrofuturism refers to a cross-disciplinary genre that combines science fiction, Afrocentrism, fantasy, technology, and non-Western mythologies as an intellectual and artistic strategy to reimagine and repurpose the fraught past, present, and future of the transnational black experience. Bringing together 13 artists and 33 photographic and video works that negotiate a range of Afro-Diasporic experiences, In Their Own Form prefaces personhood, both fantastical and actual, over perceived realities.
Highlights of the exhibition include Passage (2017), a video installation by South African artist Mohau Modisakeng, a three-channel, immersive work that examines the historical trauma of slavery, using science fiction themes of time travel and abduction to unpack how
forced migration during the slave trade continues to impact the present-day black experience. Using Afrofuturist imagery, Senegalese artist Alun Be’s project Edification Series (2017) explores the impact of technology on contemporary African society, grappling with the complexities of possible futures while re-contextualizing the Western media’s static representation of the African continent. Multi-disciplinary French-Brazilian artist Alexis Peskine references the personal and collective African diasporic experience as well as black masculinity in his Aljana Moons (2015) series, which chronicles a coming-of-age festival in a Senegalese village, filtered through a sci-fi lens with a markedly futuristic visual aesthetic. Other artists in the exhibition include Kudzanai Chiurai, Jim Chuchu, Teju Cole, Ayana V. Jackson, Fabrice Monteiro, Zanele Muholi, Aida Muluneh, Paulo Nazareth, Zohra Opoku, and Mary Sibande.
In Their Own Form, running April 12 through July 8, 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, is curated by Sheridan Tucker Anderson, MoCP Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts.
The MoCP 2017-2018 exhibition season is generously sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Additional support for In Their Own Form is provided by a generous gift from Mamadou-Abou and Catherine Sarr.