How to understand Black art across the diaspora

ISE-DA Presents:

The Black Speculative Art Movement project seeks to connect, educate, and engage our audience with the four speculative concepts of this project: Afro-Futurism; The Black Ethno-Gothic; Afro-Pessimism; and Afro-Surrealism. Each of these sub-themes will be explored for 2 months across our social media channels and through select programs that will add value to ISE-DA’s audience by educating them on the sub-themes.

  • 1 Virtual Discussion
  • 1+ introductory article per sub-theme at minimum
  • 1 Artist Feature per subtheme
  • 1 Film Friday per sub-theme.

Why now?

Summer 2020 opened a curtain to the surrealist existence that is Blackness: Black people marching in dense crowds of thousands within global city centers in midst of a pandemic that disproportionately affects Black communities; Black horsemen galloping down the streets of Houston to support these protests; Black squares drowning social media feeds, obscuring a network of vital visual information for protestors and organizers under the guise of supporting Black solidarity; experiencing moments of joy and existing in humous social media settings while dealing with the co-opting of Black culture and movements.

With increasing global inequity, growth of fascism, and the macabre, consistent anti-Blackness, 2020 was a catalyzing environment that accentuated amassing socio-political and economic issues.

The mass organization in protests and supporting economic offerings suggested a step forward towards Black liberation and an imagining of Black futures – the global nature of Black liberation movement in summer 2020 presented an accentuated need for more PanAfrican speculations of future. It served as an extension of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, which additionally experienced its own creative Renaissance and art movements, such as the AfriCobra collective. Much of the art that has grown from this present time focus on ideating Black futures, whether it be industry specific, nationally, or globally. However, imagining Black futures is not a new pursuit.

With our project, ISE-DA aims to shed light on the study of Black Speculation through its thought leaders, artists, and developed creative works. 

An Overview of our Project Timeline:


To culminate this project, we plan to throw a month-long exhibition titled Life is But a Dream in New York that centers on this pivotal question:

What is a speculative future if not rooted in a surrealist reality?

ISE-DA’s exhibition Life is But a Dream explores two movements (Afro-futurism and Afro-surrealism) within the Black Speculative tradition that prophesize Black futures. Taken from a conversation between Giovanni Singleton and D. Scot Miller, the exhibition’s title illustrates that Black existence is simultaneously a dream-like speculation of the future and a multi-dimensional surrealist present.

We would be honored to have you as a part of our 2021 project. If you have any questions, please contact us at and we would be happy to connect!


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