Kalvin Schmidt-Rimpler Dinh (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Black artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals have partaken in surrealist discourse since the movement’s inception in the early twentieth century, yet the significance of their work is still largely underexplored. While a handful of scholars have initiated invaluable correctives to these oversights, the field’s historical neglect leaves much remedial work to be done. These gaps are felt especially in the twenty-first century, which appears to be yielding a reinvigoration of the ‘Afro-Surreal’—a term coined by the poet, playwright and music critic Amiri Baraka in 1978—throughout visual culture, from feature films and contemporary art to television shows and hip-hop music videos. As such, I aim to investigate the ways in which what we might call ‘contemporary Afrosurrealism’ articulates, negotiates and challenges present-day issues of race, gender, sexuality and class through diverse media, and to place this in dialogue with the longer history of Afrodiasporic connections to surrealism.

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