Funkadelic Awakening: A Futuristic Resistance

Jun 7th - Jun 30th, 2019

A group exhibition inspired by the work of Donté K. Hayes, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Jennifer Ling Datchuk. Curated by Gerald A. Brown.

Each artist in this exhibition uses their practice to actively disrupt the status quo created by Western culture. The artists develop and engage in narratives that challenge European dominance on a global scale, inclusive but not exclusive to the United States. Wrestling with multiple historical references, the works collectively question notions of systemic erasure on an individual as well as ancestral scope. Each artist speaks to specific themes of resistance related to their personal journey within their cultural identity, using a fluid combination of ideals stemming from Futurism and/or Afrofuturism. Together, each artist offers the viewer a fresh perspective on a pertinent but timeless conversation about eternal resistance and how that force can inspire radical ways of redefining oneself.

Futurism uses the lens of science fiction and technological advances to explore human evolution. While Afrofuturism incorporates the aesthetics of Futurism to explore longevity for Black identities, it additionally exists as a theoretical framework to imagine a future for those who are pushing back against Western Eurocentricism. As documentation of their journeys, artists use ideas of Afrofuturism and Futurism collectively or in tandem with their own theories and mythologies of futurism specific to their community, such as Rascuache-Futuristic and Transfuturism.

By considering these theoretical frameworks of multiple futurisms in conversation, each artist in the exhibition vividly paints a future beyond current societal expectations and oppression. Complicating the temporality of specific objects and applying the unbound nature of space, their works depict a world beyond imagination. Funkadelic Awakening pays homage to two inventive, soulful and Avante Garde albums, Maggot Brain by Funkadelic and Awaken, My Love by Childish Gambino. The visual compositions are reminiscent of audio from songs from the respective albums: Maggot Brain (Funkadelic) and Me and Your Mama (Gambino). Akin to the drifting, wailing sounds of the guitar strings in the two tracks, the artists in Funkadelic Awakening take the viewer to a distant land far away, a place familiar but yet unsettling. This exhibition aims to honor how these artists are molding their identity and shaping their future in their own crafted language.

- Gerald A. Brown

LISTEN to the podcast on Artblog, where Gerald Brown and Wit López discuss this exhibition, conceptul frameworks, and challenging the status quo. [23 min]