Afrofuturist Showcase 'In Their Own Form' Dazzles at the Museum of Contemporary Photography

By J.P. Anderson | May 3, 2018 | Culture

The Museum of Contemporary Photography celebrates the rich, reinvigorated tradition of Afrofuturism with In Their Own Form.


Mary Sibande, "A Terrible Beauty" (2013)/Photo courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Photography

From Beyoncé’s myth-making stage costumes and videos to the gorgeous tech-meets-tribal aesthetic of cinematic blockbuster Black Panther, Afrofuturism—the genre of reimagining the black experience through a sci-fi-inflected, non-Western lens—is a movement that is truly of this moment.

Perfect timing, then, for the MoCP’s In Their Own Form, an Afrofuturist showcase of 33 photographic and video works by 13 artists, including Zanele Muholi, Teju Cole and Mary Sibande, whose regal 2013 work “A Terrible Beauty” (pictured) is one of the exhibit’s powerhouse pieces. Dynamic with motion and brilliantly hued, it was inspired by the Purple March, a 1989 demonstration against apartheid in South Africa where protesters were sprayed with purple dye. “Sibande uses purple coloration to simultaneously reference the protests while also looking at it as a visual strategy to reverse the effects of classism and racism,” notes museum Executive Director Natasha Egan. “I’m thrilled that this politically significant, visually compelling work is now a part of the MoCP permanent collection.”

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