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In the Black Fantastic

In the Black Fantastic

Ekow Eshun
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A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative, artistically ambitious, and politically urgent.


A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative and artistically ambitious, In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora. Embracing the mythic and the speculative, it recycles and reconfigures elements of fable, folklore, science fiction, spiritual traditions, ceremonial pageantry, and the legacies of Afrofuturism. In works that span photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, graphic arts, music and architecture, In the Black Fantastic shows how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender and identity.


Standing apart from Western narratives of progress and modernity premised on the historical subjugation of people of color, In the Black Fantastic celebrates the ways that Black artists draw inspiration from African-originated myths, beliefs, and knowledge systems, confounding the Western dichotomy between the real and unreal, the scientific and the supernatural. Featuring more than 300 color illustrations, this beautifully designed book brings together works by leading artists such as Kara Walker, Chris Ofili, and Ellen Gallagher; explores groundbreaking films like Daughters of the Dust and Get Out; considers the radical politics of pan-Africanism and postcolonialism; and much more.


Each section--"Invocation," "Migration," and "Liberation"--includes an introductory text by Ekow Eshun and longer essays by Eshun, Kameelah L. Martin, and Michelle D. Commander.


Ekow Eshun is a writer and curator based in London. Formerly Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is the author of Black Gold of the Sun and Africa State of Mind.

Michelle D. Commander is Associate Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York and the author of Afro-Atlantic Flight.

Kameelah L. Martin is Dean of the graduate school of African American Studies and English at the College of Charleston.


  • Publisher: ‎The MIT Press (September 6, 2022)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎304 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎026204725X
  • ISBN-13: ‎9780262047258
  • Item Weight: ‎2.92 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎7.94 x 1.13 x 10.13 inches
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