Society: Manifest Destiny exhibit highlights Afrofuturism

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News
Curator Ingrid LaFleur

The torrential downpour Saturday evening didn’t stop a couple hundred art lovers from attending the artist reception for Manifest Destiny at Library Street Collective. The provocative exhibition curated by Ingrid LaFleur, examines the practical implementation of the cultural movement, Afrofuturism, to alter destinies within Detroit and beyond.

“This was inspired by the 400-year anniversary of West African captives brought to the Jamestown settlement in Virginia,” said LaFleur, a curator, pleasure activist and Afrofuturist. “Manifest Destiny honors the legacy of Black-bodied people to forge their own destiny regardless of circumstance.”

Much attention was drawn to the exhibit with the installation of one piece as a nearby billboard that sits above Queens Bar in downtown Detroit that reads, “There Are Black People in the Future.” Many say that the piece, by Alisha B. Wormsley, sums up the concept of Afrofuturism. Manifest Destiny brings together 12 artists that explore new modes of thinking, planning, and building for the Afrofuture.

Guests were quite diverse, including Christina Marks, an Australian artist who currently lives in New York, John Collins, an international DJ from Detroit who insists that techno music plays an intricate part in Afrofuturism, and Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Andrew Taylor and Christina Marks

The exhibit also features a boutique, DINKINESH, created by LaFleur and designed by artist Ute Petit. DINKINESH sells Afrofuturist paraphernalia with the goal to support organizations that invest in the future of youth. The first organization to receive this support is the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy and its program to send youth to Ghana.

Immediately following the reception, an afterparty took place in the adjacent Belt Alley and the downstairs club, Deluxx Fluxx, with music exciting performances by Bevlove, Tunde Olaniran, Bryce Detroit, Kesswa, Jay Daniel, and Supercoowicked.

Manifest Destiny, organized by Library Street Collective, is supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It is on exhibit at Library Street Collective until September 7, 2019.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of The Social Metro