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The Future is Breath: An Artist Talk on Afrofuturism and Speculative Fiction

January 15 @ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join us for a conversation about the work of The Alien-Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler, exhibition artist, Candace Hunter and the legacy of Black science fiction writer, Octavia Butler. The conversation will be moderated by scholar, Kimberly M. Harmon.

The conversation will focus on the shared sense of world-building within Octavia’s literary work and Hunter’s installation. We will also discuss the legacy and impact of Butler, and Afro-futurism verses Speculative Fiction as a literary genre.

The title of the program, “The Future is Breath,” addresses the current conversations surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement while highlighting conceptual ideas relating to the future of Black people and their evolution in lieu of the grief surrounding Black death.

About Candace Hunter

Candace Hunter, a Chicago‐based artist, creates collage, paintings, installations, and performance art. Plainly, she tells stories. Using appropriated materials from magazines, vintage maps, cloth, and various reused materials, she offers this new landscape of materials back to the viewer with a glimpse of history and admiration of the beautiful.

A highly respected artist in the Midwest, her recent honors include the Elevate Climate Changemakers Award (2022), 3Arts Next Level Award (2021), the Tim and Helen Meier Family Foundation Award (2020), the 3Arts Award (2016) and honored by the Diasporal Rhythms Collective. She was also a featured speaker at the 24th Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers’ Conference: We Are Each Other’s Harvest (2022), and the Midwest Women in Ecology Conference (2019).

Hunter’s most recent notoriety has come from her Brown Limbed Girls series, which are painted and collaged 20 x 20‐inch works –more than 130 and counting –- that were born during the COVID‐19 pandemic and their sole purpose was to depict brown girls in various states of joy. To date, those images have been featured on Chicago billboards, three book covers, in two major shows in New Orleans and Oakland, and in many private collections, including that of Actress CCH Pounder.

About Kimberly M. Harmon

Kimberly M. Harmon is a Chicago born mother, healer-warrior, dream oracle, metaphysician, psychic-medium, ritualist, Iyàláwo, educator-activist, Transformative Spirit-Life Doula/Coach and interdisciplinary artist with works extensively exhibited in group/solo shows, various publications including Obsidian Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, and private collections including that of Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress.

She is a researcher, consultant and facilitator in international practice whose Spiritual, visual, and written works focus upon ritualized Ancestral (Egun) healing, dream analysis, the Orisha, traditional African healing wisdoms, rootwork, the Akashic Record, reiki, quantum epigenetics/neuroplasticity, medical intuitive healing, herbalism, animal/non-human communication, and (r)evolutionary freedom/socio-spiritual restorative justice for Black people worldwide.

About the Exhibition

In Chicago‐based artist Candace Hunter’s largest solo exhibition to date, The Alien‐Nations and Sovereign States of Octavia E Butler, she explores ideas from Parable of the Sower and Xenogenesis Trilogy (Lilith’s Brood) by speculative fiction author Octavia E Butler (1947‐2006). Hunter presents a new series of collage‐based works, installations, video, and sound works that illustrate the meticulously sculpted worlds Butler imagined in her novels, examining their significance for Black bodies and future societies.

Work with synthetic plants, remnants of an ongoing culinary experiment, a reading nook, and imagined portals to other worlds make up what Hunter describes as an “alien lush space.” The exhibition examines the concepts of nationhood, asking questions about who is other and in what situations do we see people as other to ourselves? How do we become universal? Comparing the Parable of the Sower to the Trump era and using Xenogenesis Trilogy (Lilith’s Brood) to explore what “alien” worlds might exist beyond America and its race relations today, Hunter’s exhibition creates a speculative space where multiple generations come together to envision a better future.—caa


Hyde Park Art Center
5020 South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615
Chicago, IL 60615 US
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