Afrofuture: A pop-up exhibition created in honor of Black History Month and designed to celebrate the rising value of African Diaspora Art in the contemporary art world. The event was sponsored in part by AARP and The Miami Design District.
The opening of Afrofuture on February 15, 2019, was a blockbuster event with art performances, poetry, art talk, exceptional food, South African wine, scintillating music from the African Diaspora and an outstanding showcase of some of South Florida and the Caribbean’s leading African Diaspora artists. The opening event attracted 240 people. New York art collector and former curator, Nadia Fattah said:
“I have been visiting the Miami art market for the last 25 years. I have attended several black art shows in South Florida, but for the record, Afrofuture is by far the most thought-provoking and insightful shows about contemporary visual black culture. If you happen to be in Miami, go see it before it ends on March 7, 2019.”
The exhibition, Afrofuture: Reimagining the Narrative of the Global African Experience, was presented by the Global African Art, Fashion and Design Collective, CADA (Contemporary African Diaspora Art), and the Miami Design District. The pop-up art exhibition was designed to reimagine the narrative of the global African experience and showcase the emerging visual creativity of the Southern Florida and Caribbean African diaspora community; it is connected with “the cultural and political movements”, shaping a new narrative about the global black experience in a contemporary world. The show featured art that illuminates the changing philosophical ideas of contemporary African Diasporic culture at the intersection of spirituality, technology, science, music, art, film and literature.
The rich artistic culture of South Florida’s Caribbean and African Diaspora community was curated by Ludlow Bailey; The three-week exhibition featured bold paintings, sculpture and works on paper by Southern-Florida based artists – Addonis Parker, Gene Tinnie, Robert McKnight, George Gadson, Mokhai and Johnnie Bess. Jallim Eudovic, from St. Lucia; Stephen Arboite, and Morel Doucet, from Haiti; and Ya La’ Ford, representing Jamaica.
During its iteration, the show attracted over 1,100 guests and attracted all kinds of people that really appreciated the journeys and messages the art was conveying.
The artists were selected on criteria that included their commitment to creating work that celebrates global black culture, as well as promoting art’s role in the redevelopment of intellectual and spiritual achievement.
Some of the highlights from the exhibition were the impressive large scale works by Asser Saint-Val and abstract iconographic paintings by Ya La’Ford; both artists share the sense of power evoked in the new paintings by longtime leaders of Miami’s black arts community, Robert McKnight and Gene Tinnie. As well as this, the metal sculptures were sleek and aesthetically pleasing – the different shapes and smoothness of the material used were amazing; there were so many different artists, each with their own individual style, really creating emotive and captivating pieces of art through so many mediums.
Afrofuture was organized by CADA (Contemporary African Diaspora Art), an organization advocating the creative journeys of African diaspora artists through creative media; they provide a platform of exposure to reach and teach new audiences through a series of pop-up events, seminars, panel discussions, art exhibitions, curricula, video and film. They are one of the world’s leading brokers of rare, original and one-of-a-kind works produced by contemporary artists of African descent across the globe. CADA offers a wide range of services to support the needs of individual, museum and corporate clients, including transportation, storage, art research, arranging for commission works, curatorial services and representing clients in auctions and private negotiations.
In relation to art, the term diaspora is used to discuss artists who have migrated from one part of the world to another and they express diverse experiences of culture and identity in their work – often through alternative narratives and challenging ideas and structures through a creative medium.
Until the 1980s and the work of emerging artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, visual art produced by people of African descent was largely ignored in the United States and Europe, but this has changed in the last decade; there have been many African diaspora artists that have gained attention from mainstream curators, academics, dealers and collectors.
Their unique voice is being communicated in multiple mediums and genres, including music, art, literature, dance, religion, fashion and film and represents some of the world’s most spirited, intellectual, aesthetic and inspiring popular culture.
Ludlow, managing director of CADA, is extremely passionate about contemporary global African Diaspora culture and is considered one of the leading experts on Contemporary African Diaspora Art. He is currently working as an art advisor with some of the most important museums, galleries and private collections in London, New York, Paris, Chicago, Cape Town, Washington, D.C, Lagos, Accra and the Caribbean. In the last decade, he has curated over 50 art shows.