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Arts & Culture

NSU Art Museum Launches Community Voices Series With A Juneteenth-Inspired Event

Photo of the Nova Southeastern University Art Museum under a cloudless sky
The NSU Art Museum is located in Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale

The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale launched a new series on Juneteenth. The event — entitled "Looking Forward, Looking Back: Freedom, Afrofuturism and Reflections on Juneteenth" — is the first installment in the Community Voices series aimed at showcasing artwork by minorities and women.

Discussions were led by three Nova Southeastern University professors. Dr. Rachel Panton's dissertation discussed the bridge between the ideals of Afrofuturism and the shackles of slavery.

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Afrofuturism is an artistic philosophy rooted in the intersection of African-American culture and science fiction or postmodernist themes. Think the lush, yet mechanized, aesthetics of the "Black Panther" universe or the glossy dreamscape presented inMissy Elliot’s most notorious music videos.

“Even in freedom, after jubilation, we are still fugitives. We’re still fleeing,” Panton said.

Through musical cues and literary references, Panton’s presentation was rooted in the idea that Black people still feel the need to remove themselves from many of the stains of American history.

Afrofuturism is the bridge between the past, present, and future of African-American culture. It empowers Black people to insert themselves in spaces they had been historically excluded from, including fictional genres and revisionist histories.

Other topics discussed at the event ranged from the history of Juneteenth to the meaning of freedom as depicted through pieces by Black artists. Many pieces of artwork discussed during the event are from the museum’s collection.

Laura Gomez, associate education curator, says that the series was created based on the growing demand for accessibility in art education and discourse.

“Community Voices is that initiative for the community,” Gomez explained, “it is important for the museum to design programs that are meaningful and with community needs in mind.”

The NSU Art Museum program was made with support from the
Community Foundation of Broward. The series is free of charge and open to the public. Going forward, events will follow a hybrid presentation model. Virtual options will continue complete with online access to view curated works in conjunction with the in-person opportunities set to take place at the museum's Las Olas location.

Shianne Salazar is a former intern and freelancer at WLRN News.
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