Art Installation Series:
Branding the AfroFuture by Stacey Robinson
March 2017 – June 2018
Stacey Robinson is the fifth featured artist in the Art Installation Series. He will be installing his artwork in the Schaffer Library Learning Commons Monday, March 27th through Thursday, March 30th, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Stacey Robinson, assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Illinois, is an Arthur Schomburg fellow who completed his M.F.A. at the University at Buffalo. His work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as spaces of peace away from colonial influence by considering Black protest movements and the art movements that document(ed) them.
As part of the collaborative team “Black Kirby” with artist John Jennings, Robinson creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions and lectures that deconstruct the work of artist Jack Kirby to re-imagine Black resistance spaces inspired by Hip Hop, religion and the arts and sciences. His exhibition Binary ConScience explores ideas of W. E. B. Du Bois’s “double consciousness” as a Black cultural adaptation and a means of colonial survival. Recent works appear in upcoming books: Kid Code: Channel Zero (Rosarium Publishing), The Black Speculative Arts Movement: Afrofuturism, Art+Design (edited by Reynaldo Anderson, Lexington Books).
I create multimedia works as resistance to Black oppression globally. My work looks at past and present protest movements and the art that documented them. In detail, my drawing, painting, comics, writings and performances examine Black culture and the Black body as a technology from past to speculative future in a narrative that addresses ideas and the intricacy of love, sex, religion and decolonization.
I create these works as resistance by illustrating the global conflicts of integration, miseducation, unresolved slavery, unresolved emancipation and colonialism’s effect on Black people’s collective ability to self-organize and self-govern. I create a counter-assessment to Black stereotypes and misrepresentations of Black existence. My work explores speculative decolonized territories to think about what Blackness means in a space that has never existed without interruption in several hundred years, thus redefining Blackness.
I teeter the edge of celebration and exploitation of Black culture with a use of postmodern appropriations. The works utilize cultural symbols, many times using images of machinery and non-human life forms in collage as survivalist metaphors for the Black experience. It’s here that I revere Black culture while confronting the traumatic results of colonialism. I use the gallery space to create temporary visual utopias. My exhibitions are designed as inspiration for imagining the endless possibilities beyond injustices to discuss the weightier matters of Black existence inside of integrated spaces or away from colonial factors.
– Stacey Robinson
This exhibition and event are supported by Union’s “Our Shared Humanities” initiative, which is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.