this photographer is creating new sci-fi narratives for black bodies

Inspired by Afrofuturism, Munachi Osegbu’s latest photographic series examines the relationship between the African diaspora and technology.

by George Douglas-Davies
30 April 2018, 9:40am

Photography Munachi Osegbu 

For a long time, Afrofuturism -- the cultural aesthetic examining the relationship between the African diaspora and technology -- has been greatly overlooked by mainstream culture. But following the massive success of films like Get Out and Black Panther, it seems it's making a comeback.

One creative riding the cultural wave is 22-year-old photographer Munachi Osegbu. His new project is a sci-fi photostory about the creation of a new, black, android. It’s about “celebrating something that will define a new era,” Munachi tells i-D. “Stargazer is a nod to the new black visual lexicon that we see emerging in pop culture, film, and fashion right now. The image of the black body has always been tightly controlled and politicised, but I want to have a mobility and complexity that transcends tropes and dogma.”

“Black women are rarely represented in science fiction,” says Danielle, who modelled the shoot. “I felt proud to be part of something innovative and new. What we did was kind of like a science experiment, we started with an idea but had no idea what would happen once we brought it to life.”

“Representation and perception is key to how we understand each other as humans,” Munachi adds. “Whether it be through film, fashion, music, visual art or any creative practice, we can help change people’s perceptions. As man and machine come closer together, Afrofuturism will be what many turn to as not only a cultural aesthetic, but a philosophy to explore the intersection of the African Diaspora with science and technology.”

It’s something Munachi has experience with, an immigrant who moved to America when he was one, he never felt like quite at home. Munachi decided to channel his discomfort into photography and created his own world on the other side of a lens. “Instead of looking to others to validate my identity I found solace in creating.”

“This project is my own personal process of disidentification. My art is rarely outwardly political because I've always based what I make on the idea that reality is just a twisted perception of dogma and doctrine, and I’ve always tried to exist outside of that realm.”

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Photography Munachi Osegbu
Styling Nadia Mahmud
Hair/Make-up Shideh Kafei
Set Design Alishanee Chafe-Hearmon

Munachi Osegbu