Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room
THE MET unveiled a long-term installation this past month, Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room, that transforms a 19th-century domestic interior into a space untethered by time. Like traditional period rooms, the installation is a fabrication of a domestic space that assembles furnishings and works of art to represent a fixed moment in time. However, this new space will unsettle the very idea of a period room by embracing the African and African diasporic belief that the past, present, and future are interconnected. Powered by Afrofuturism—the inspirational, creative mode that centers Black imagination and self-determination—this speculative home is activated through vision, sound, and storytelling. Before Yesterday We Could Fly is furnished with a range of works from The Met collection—from Bamileke beadwork and 19th-century American ceramics to contemporary art and design—that foreground generations of Black creativity. The period room is significantly located at a central intersection where galleries for Early Modern Europe, Nineteenth-century Britain, and the American Wing meet—a placement that alludes to the linked colonial histories embedded in the Afrofuturist Period Room.
The exhibition is made possible by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation and the Director’s Fund.
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