The 20th century brought in an influx of Black voices to the forefront of culture. Artists and histroical figures drew on ancestral resources of the past to develop and project a sense of pride. In his series, Aspects of Negro Life, painter Aaron Douglas, a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance, followed the ancestral line to Africa and created superimposed geometric shapes such as concentric circles, a motif similar to those of the Mbuti people, to illuminate the past and present through an infinite loop of blackness.
The Black Power Movement began as a direct response to the Civil Rights Movement. Its “spiritual sister,” The Black Arts Movement, founded by poet Amiri Baraka, was steeped in the ideology of the pure Black aesthetic. It served as a platform for revolutionary action as artists, particularly poets, fused words and used them as metaphorical weapons to invoke thought and action towards alternative futures, while reinforcing the message: “for the people by the people.” AfroSurrealist poet Henry Dumas grounds the rootedness of what is surreal through his life and prose, while celebrated author Nikki Giovanni amplifies our Black Cool through “Ego Trippin’.”
This page reflects on historical figures and artists that could have been aligned with the frameworks of both AfroFuturism and AfroSurrealism.