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In the Ancient World, African ideas about the present and the future were exhibited visually in profound and distinct ways. Great learning centers in Egypt and Mali looked to the stars and constellations to explain both African origins and futures. The great Mbuti people of the Congo mapped the omniverse and wore the landscapes as clothing. Reclaiming aesthetic connections between the people of Africa and its global diaspora is an act of powerful creative validation and liberation. In these early African expressions, we see a reflection of both the physical and spiritual universe. Credited in

D. Scot Miller's Afrosurreal Manifesto, Senegalese poet, cultural theorist (⅓ of creators of the concept of Negritude) and the first president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor said, “European Surrealism is empirical. African Surrealism is mystical and metaphorical.”

In alignment with the mystical and metaphorical, this section, Celestial Coordinates serves as ancestral reference points highlighting the role of the polyphonic textured barkcloth of the Mbuti people and the cyclical portal of the cosmogram; both serving as symbols and entry points to the past, present and future. The Artists/Curators digital work is inspired by our collaboration with The Black School who used the archival materials of the Dogon and Pygmy art & artifacts as reference points to support a visioning process and draw on the interiority of their lives to create improvisational line drawings based which drew on the sensibilities of sight, smell, touch and ancestral lineages. 

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“Kongo and Yoruba cosmology (indicates a connection to the continuity with the spirituality of African continental space.”

                                 ---Dr. Nettrice Gaskins

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