July 8, 2015 / 4:07pm
In her catalog essay “Looking Back From the Future at Michelangelo Lovelace,” Ebony L. Haynes gives a close reading of Katrina Aftermath (2006) through the lens of Afrofuturism. She says:
Coined in 1994 by writer Mark Dery, the phrase Afrofuturism questioned the largely streamlined depictions of both utopian and apocalyptic futures, which were predominantly Anglo/European based. Afrofuturism is not about science fiction, though that may be the genre chosen to relay ideas of the future; more accurately, it is about imagining a Black reality not limited to racial identity. […]
[In] Katrina Aftermath (2006), [Lovelace] paints the chaos of the flooded streets of New Orleans, post-hurricane. Here, colorful acrylics paint the faces of the displaced—people of all colors, all in desperate need of help. The masses are faceless, as are most of the faces in Lovelace’s large and vast crowds. Black and White, young and old, the ailing and the able bodied, all vulnerable. […] In the style of Afrofurism, race remains an overarching theme, but he plays with it by means of dissecting ideas of community and empathy.
The full version of this essay is published in the How to Remain Human catalog — available from the MOCA Store and online.