Booth A15 : UPFOR
For the inaugural edition of UNTITLED, ART online, we are proud to present new work by April Bey as part of her ongoing project Atlantica. Atlantica is a therapeutic and highly personal manifestation of Bey—her origin story and a surreal coping mechanism to deal with existence as a queer Black Femme on Earth. Wyatt Closs in LA Weekly writes, "With these works, Bey goes at warp speed into Afrofuturism and Afro-surrealism as a means of surfacing colonialism, with brilliant sparkly details." Bey provides us this introduction to her imaginative world:
"On Atlantica, Grace Jones, Nina Simone and James Baldwin wear non-functional space helmets while smoking cigarettes in zero gravity because functional physics can’t impact their flyness. Their banners fly high in every governmental building where meetings are held only to discuss grits of glitter and shea butter application—glitter is our currency.
Atlantica was once a nameless planet and detailed fabrication told to me by my Black father as a way to explain racism and colorism—why I looked different than my mother who was white and why children at school made fun of my hair that stood up instead of laying down. He told me we would always be different because we were aliens sent from another planet to observe and report on Earth. I call this planet Atlantica.
Made in another universe that parallels, critiques, celebrates and satirizes our own, Atlantica occupies space and rewrites Earth’s history. Colonial Swag, a high fashion luxury brand on Atlantica uses fully-sustainable, ethically-mined Colonialism from Earth’s developing countries to create beautiful priceless pieces of fashion. Beyoncé and Solange were redesigned into Earth’s history—with creative license of course—as the primary leaders in the Women’s Suffragette Movement. We can clone ourselves and limbs too if needed.
Atlantica is home to visionaries, Womanist Matriarchies, Black vampire women leave you with dreams in exchange for sustenance, Earth analysis, Black thought, telepathic food replicators and queer adventures in design. Atlantica is a joyous AfroFuturist meme and also a serious paean to Earth’s African diaspora’s resilience in the face of colonialism and neocolonialism."