Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The HWS Update
Stacey Robinson

Stacey Robinson’s “Into the AfroFuture” is Coming to HWS

Stacey Robinson, an artist and educator who creates art based on the history of Black oppression and resistance in America, is coming to the Colleges to put his art work on display.

Robinson’s art is made up of digital collages that engage with ideas of alternative futures where Black bodies and subjectivity are explored beyond their normal boundaries within the structure of the country’s socio-political relations. Robinson has created a utopian universe where Black identity is self-defined and configured outside of the legacy of colonial racism. Using a comic book depiction, as well as popular culture and African cultural and spiritual practices, the works convey messages of idealism in the Black world.

Robinson says he strives to create work that impacts society in a way that empowers others, while calling attention to serious issues that the Black community has been facing for decades.

“Based on the history of Black self-sufficient, self-reliant communities in America, I argue that Black communities cannot exist outside of integrated spaces uninterrupted by White supremacy and racism,” Robinson says. “I also argue that Black people cannot be self-sufficient and self-reliant inside of integrated communities uninterrupted by White supremacy and racism. Therefore, where can Black people go where we are not in a state of unrest? Based on these questions my work looks toward the future (a Black utopia) as speculative, imaginative, uninterrupted spaces to examine a free decolonized Black future of peace.”

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture Angelique Szymanek, who is curating the exhibition, believes that Robinson’s work captures the major themes of Black subjectivity in contemporary American culture, while also putting forward an alternative universe where the practices of racism and oppression do not exist. After working with him at SUNY Buffalo during her time as an adjunct lecturer in the Visual Studies Department, Szymanek found that his work “made a lasting and powerful impression.”

“It is my sincerest hope that the exhibition, ‘Into the AfroFuture,’ will create a space to negotiate the pain of persisting racial conflict through engagement with creative imaginings of a more peaceful and humane future,” says Szymanek.

“Into the AfroFuture” will be on display from Nov. 31 through Dec. 9 in the Solarium Gallery at Houghton House. Robinson will offer a formal talk called “Branding the AfroFuture” from 4:45 – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1 in Houghton House 112 and the opening of the exhibit with reception will follow immediately.

 

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