A woman and her haloed baby look through a window at a field of stars. Afrofuturist photo manipulation by SReal.
AnceStars by SReal

If the past few decades of genre fiction & illustration have been dominated by Steampunk, the future belongs to Afrofuturism. Artwork like this gorgeous photomanipulation by afrofuturist artist SReal have the power to inspire on multiple levels: new aesthetics, new voices, and new goals. 

I asked SReal to share a bit about his artistic philosophy and what inspires him:

"As a creator I am deeply inspired by the beauty of science/science fiction, spirituality & nature, technology, contemporary music/fashion, and the grand scope of rich African cultures. With these elements I construct scenes of an advanced tribal people/ET's who are appreciative and respectful of their surroundings as well as their deep culture. When creating, I like to imagine advanced African people and other POCs with nations of extreme grandness, beauty, and technology that were never exposed to European colonization."

Beyond the incredible blues of AnceStars, what struck me about SReal's image was the image of parenting: of teaching and showing a toddler what lies ahead. This is something I don't think we see enough of in science fiction. I became a father 5 years ago myself, and this image is powerful. Mothers teaching sons. The rays from the halo line up with the eyes of the mother. The child looks at a future among the stars and she sees the future in her son.

We're all moving to the future together, and the future doesn't only belong to visions from white men like me: we're richer when we try to see it through each others' eyes. 

With the incredible work coming out of the Afrofuturist artistic community, this won't be the only time I feature artwork in this genre here on Symbiartic. If you'd like to learn more about it, I'd recommend following @YtashaWomack and her site iAfrofuturism. (A hat tip to @WeAreWakanda who shared SReal's work.)

Follow artist SReal on Tumblr and Instagram, and make sure you see his #BlackLivesMartyred portraits of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice.  

Here's another incredible piece from his Instagram account, Son Setting