The Library is a place for knowledge creation. One of many ways that this is achieved is through exhibits and events. The best sort of exhibits involve groups outside the Library and showcase their work. This fall, we are delighted to bring a vibrant Afrofuturist exhibit of art and literature to our display cases. Afrofuturism, says Ytasha Womack, author of Afrofuturism: the World of Black Sci-Fi Fantasy and Fantasy Culture, is a way of looking at alternate realities through an intersectional, black cultural lens. She says that it includes mysticism, metaphysics, identity and liberation to see black folks in a better future.
Our exhibit, curated by Dr. Walter Greason, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Counseling and Leadership, consists of an eclectic mixture of original art and books from the Library’s collection. The art is by John Jennings, Stacey Robinson, Michel Mulipola, and Stanford Carpenter. The books range from W.E.B. Dubois, to Toni Morrison, Monmouth’s Julius Adekunle, Walter Greason and Hettie Williams, to timeless works of James Baldwin and Paul Dunbar. Videos include Black Panther, Django Unchained, 4 Little Girls, and many more. Together, they paint a picture of the black imagination as a historical narrative, a soul enslaved yet never subjugated; never without hopes and dreams. Through violence, struggle, social and political tribulation their spirit persevered. Unbound and free at last to dream, a dynamic body of art and fiction represents new worlds and existences free of the past. A guide to the exhibit and bibliography of the Library materials is available at https://library.monmouth.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2019/09/2019-Fall-Afrofuturism-Exhibit-Guide-Bibliography.pdf
On Saturday, September 7 Dr. Julian Chambliss, Professor of English at Michigan State University, offered keynote remarks at the exhibit opening. His talk was based on his book, Cities Imagined, describing the origins of Afrofuturism and how it draws from history, literature, music and art. On November 16, 2019, Dr. Greason is planning a symposium, to be held at the Library, “The Black Speculative Arts Movement: The Black Brain Belt” which will explore the work of African-American scientists, based in Monmouth County between 1945 and 1955 who pioneered and developed modern global communications technology that we rely on today.
Please pay a visit to the Guggenheim Memorial Library and enjoy a journey of triumph over adversity, intellectual and spiritual growth and fulfillment, and a magical wealth of joyful creativity.
Kurt W. Wagner, University Librarian