In Atlantica, The Gilda Region, interdisciplinary artist April Bey creates an immersive installation that taps into Black Americans’ historical embrace of space travel and extraterrestrial visioning—a cultural movement dating back to the late 1960s and later termed Afrofuturism. Through this Afrofuturist lens, Bey reflects on subjects such as queerness, feminism, and internet culture in vibrant tableaux that combine plants, video, music, photography, and oversized mixed-media paintings and textiles.
In the exhibition, Bey positions herself as an alien from the planet “Atlantica,” where her mission on Earth is to observe and report as an undercover agent. This imagined world and her general interest in storytelling come from her father, who would relate childhood tales using alien narratives to illustrate how Black people were othered in the United States and The Bahamas. In contrast to the racial oppression and exploitation rampant on Earth, Atlantica offers a beautiful diasporic world in which Black people thrive and flourish.
A visual artist and art educator, Bey was raised in The Bahamas (New Providence) and now lives and works in Los Angeles, where she teaches at Glendale Community College.
April Bey: Atlantica, The Gilda Region is organized by the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.