Expressive exploration: Black culture explored at the Hayward Gallery

Sedrick Chisom

As part of its celebration of Black art and popular culture this summer, the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre will be home to In the Black Fantastic – a celebration and unpacking of Black culture.

The UK’s first major show is dedicated to the work of Black artists who use fantastical elements to address racial injustice and explore alternative realities. Myth, science fiction, spiritual traditions and the legacy of Afrofuturism are all sampled, reimagined and recontextualised in In the Black Fantastic.

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Lina Iris Viktor

Encompassing painting, photography, video, sculpture and mixed-media installations, the exhibition creates immersive aesthetic experiences that bring the viewer into a new environment somewhere between the real world and a multiplicity of imagined ones.

Curated by Ekow Eshun, the exhibition features the artists Nick Cave, Sedrick Chisom, Ellen Gallagher, Hew Locke, Wangechi Mutu, Rashaad Newsome, Chris Ofili, Tabita Rezaire, Cauleen Smith, Lina Iris Viktor and Kara Walker.

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Ekow Eshun, Curator of In the Black Fantastic, said: “I’m delighted that the Southbank Centre has designed a multi-artform programme in response to the Hayward Gallery’s summer exhibition. In the Black Fantastic is an expressive exploration of Black popular culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious and politically urgent.

It brings to life a cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of the everyday Black experience – looking at how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity and the body in the 21st century.”

Mark Ball, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, says: “In the Black Fantastic is an important, inspiring and timely exhibition centred on future ideas of Black art and culture.

In conversation with the exhibition we wanted to invite artists to respond through a wide range of art-forms across the entire site, enabling audiences to dive into ideas from multiple perspectives, including through our free public programme.

So, whether you’re a fan of music, poetry, literature, performance or visual art, In The Black Fantastic will be a landmark event at the Southbank Centre.”

What’s more, the Southbank Centre will be holding an In the Black Fantastic Weekender (July 15-17), featuring three days of music, poetry, film and talks celebrating the breadth of Black art and culture to coincide with the exhibition.

In the Black Fantastic hopes to address racism and social injustice by conjuring new ways of being in the world.

June 29 – September 18
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre SE1 8XX

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