Afrofuturism is an emerging philosophy of the diaspora and Africa that is a framework for how African people locate themselves in time and space with agency, with the understanding that the control of time is tied to the control of space. For example, The African centered perspective provides the type of history for people of African descent that makes sense of what they, rather than somebody else, went through first, and for an African liberated future, and as a futurologist, she or he can speculate and gaze beyond the next century.
Afrofuturism and Democracy: The Age of Disorder and the coming Pluriverse, 2021,
Reynaldo Anderson, Ph.D.
In dialogue with the Afrofuturism philosophy and aesthetic the artists in Memory + Healing + Sustainability are exploring the dramatic narratives that answer the question: how do you heal when memory is both prescient and present? How do you save the world and yourself and exist as a complete being when the world has torn you apart?
The artists seek both to be free in the presence of a post-pandemic world that has divided itself once again while seeking to find roots in this fragile reality where distance outweighs desire. In a world fascinated with the “self”, life is represented as invisible giants and outlines drawn on sidewalks amongst the tags of those shouting to be remembered. Broken glass windows that once reflected the streets of Harlem are patted into the shape of snowballs that may not last until tomorrow. Tinkers use remnants of treasures no longer in use to create idols. Prayers hidden in the mediation of hair woven into braids, in memories of lines of dance, the symmetry of movement. Chaos yields to the Kusudama that hang from clouds in the sky, black faces swing into the skies. Taking shelter in homes that remain in memoriam. A vision of the future recreated in an imaginary regal, whole, and freed.
José Miguel Ortiz
Visual Artist, Art Educator and Program Development
José is a painter, educator, and multi-media artist. His paintings layer symbols and myths to create possibilities for the connection between all peoples and cultures; He was selected by the MTA: Arts for Transit Project and commissioned for the 183rd Street and Jerome Avenue subway in the Bronx. He and Choreographer Sita Frederick co-founded Areytos Performance Works, a multi-disciplinary performance company that presents contemporary dance-theatre rooted in Caribbean traditions and the principles of social justice. As an Educator and Arts Administrator, José has worked for Henry Street Settlement, The Bronx Museum, Anyone Can Fly Foundation, and many other national and international arts organizations. Most recently he worked as Program Manager for Young Artist Initiatives at the Joan Mitchell Foundation. He holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, NYC.
Lisandra María Ramos
Artist, Administrator, Educator, and Cultural Worker
Born and raised in Harlem & Quisqueya Heights. She is one of the Co-Founders and Co-Directors of Fulana, a Latina video and satire collective. An alumna of the NALAC Leadership Institute, the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and the Women’s Project Director’s lab. Lisandra has been an instructor for emergeNYC, formerly at the Hemispheric Institute for performance and politics where she served as the Assistant Director until recently. Lisandra currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Centro Cívico Cultural Dominicano. She holds a B.A. and M.A. degree in multidisciplinary arts from Union College and NYU’s Gallatin School respectively, in addition to an M.F.A from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts & Science in creative writing.