2019-2020: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow
Stacey Robinson, an Assistant Professor of graphic design at the University of Illinois is an Arthur Schomburg fellow who completed his Masters of Fine Art at the University at Buffalo. His multimedia work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as decolonized spaces of peace by considering Black affluent, self-sustaining communities, Black protest movements and the art that document(ed) them.
As part of the collaborative team “Black Kirby” with artist John Jennings, he creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions and lectures that deconstruct the work of comic book creator Jack Kirby to re-imagine resistance spaces inspired by Black diasporic cultures.
His recent exhibition ‘Binary ConScience’ explores ideas of W.E. B. Du Bois’s “double consciousness” as a Black cultural adaptation, and a means of colonial survival. Another of his exhibitions ‘Branding the AfroFuture’ looks at consciously designing, and constructing Black futures through various cultural, and collage aesthetics.
Through his emerging sound practice, Stacey creates the sonic experience of the Afrofuture through collaging House, Hip-Hop, and other music to create a harmonious soundscape that converses with the aesthetics of the art exhibition.
Recent works appear in books: ‘Kid Code: Channel Zero’ from Rosarium Publishing, ‘Prison Industrial Complex For Beginners,’ from For Beginners Books. His latest graphic novel, ‘I Am Alfonso Jones’ with writer Tony Medina is available from Lee & Low books.
I am theorizing Sankofatopia as “a space that allows for Black traumatic colonial reconciliation, and healing while building free Black futures. We bring our unreconciled colonial trauma into the Sankofatopia as a means to reconcile our past, and present outside colonial influence in order to create our self-determined Black liberated futures. The Sankofatopian experience will be a visual, sonic, and literary language that overlaps the culture of Hip-Hop’s 5 elements. I am looking at 3 major questions: what does it mean for Black people to create/control Black visual, sound, and literary language? How can we culturally mine our past to create our own liberated futures through speculative design methods? How can we think of Sankofa as a sustainable Afrocentric, and Afrofuturistic culture through Hip-Hop’s 5 elements? For my project, I will address these questions by creating a multimedia design experience that connects Afrofuturistic inspiration through speculative design thinking to build a temporary utopian gallery experience centered Hip-Hop Culture.