Afrofuturism is a lot of things. It’s the past, present, and future reimagined through a Black cultural lens. Visionary, spiritual, and generative, it is art, music, literature, and cinema that expresses a just future where Black people and Black ideas thrive. It is fantasy and science fiction that envisions the African Diaspora and Black culture as central in a technically advanced and culturally rich civilization. It is also the ordinary—now— in this very moment and the everyday pleasures that may often be seen as mundane. Afrofuturism is a strategy for Black community building.
The Oakland Museum of California’s exhibition Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism presents the work of some of the central figures of this cultural phenomena—author Octavia E. Butler, avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra, and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph. The exhibition also includes contemporary artworks, a Dora Milaje costume from the film Black Panther, photography, and other historical objects, as well as a replica of the Mothership itself— musician George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic’s Afrofuturistic vessel—which houses an otherworldly video installation, a curated playlist by DJ Spooky, and more. Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism connects important figures of Afrofuturism and the ways in which Afrofuturism is present in our everyday lives.